Skip to main content

Full text of "Prints and drawings by Frank Brangwyn : with some other phases of his art"

See other formats













Introductory : Criticism, Controversy, and Writing on Art 

I. Emotion, Art, and Frank Brangwyn 

II. Some Current Fallacies versus the Brangwhtn Etchings 

III. The Parallelism between Brangwhtn and Legros as Etchers 

IV. His Earliest Etchings ..... 
V. Etchings : Simple Landscapes and Wayfaring Sketches 

VI. Etchings : Windmills and Watermills 

VII. Etchings : A Few Bridges . 

VIII. Etchings : Barges, Boats, and Hulks 

IX. Etchings : Industry and Labour 

X. Architecture in the Brangwyn Etchings . 

XI. Brangwyn, Art, and National Welfare 

XII. Brangwyn, London, and National Welfare 

XIII. Peace and War in Brangwyn's Posters 

XIV. After the War : Reformation and Re-formation : Brangwyn in 

Relation to Labour Clubs and Halls 

XV. Book Illustration and Decoration 

XVI. Brangwyn Woodcuts and Brush Drawings . 

XVII. BRANGwrrN and English Water-colour 

XVIII. Pastels and Other Designs . 

XIX. Brangwyn's Versatility : and the World's Distrust of the Versatile 











1 66 





" The Monument, London." Study for Etching No. 200. In the 

Collection of Mrs. Lyon ....... Frontispiece 

" Shipbuilding." From a Water-colour Sketch . ... To face p. 8 

Sketch for a Panel in Mullgardt's Court of the Ages, Panama 

Exhibition. {The Blocks lent by " The Studio Magazine'^) . „ 12 

A Study of Monks in Brangwyn's Cartoon for a Panel in St. Aidan's 

Church, Leeds ......... ,, 16 

Study for a Bookplate. (By permission of the Rowley Gallery, 

Kensington, London) ........ ,, 20 

" Mowers at Work." From the Original Lithograph ... ,, 24 

" The Crucifixion." A Study in Coloured Crayons reproduced in 

Facsimile . Between pp. 28 and 29 

Sketch of Stone Masons at Work ...... To face p. 32 

Industrial Light and Heat : " Iron Workers." In the Collection 

of the Japanese Government ...... ,, 36 

" Is There Truth in Drink ? " From the Original Lithograph . „ 40 

Industrial Stress and Strain : " Steel " . . . . . , „ ,. 48 

Example of Preliminary Work for the Panels in Cleveland Court 

House, Ohio, U.S.A. ........ ,, 56 

" The Valley of the Lot." From a Water-colour in the Collection 

of Miss Hope ......... „ 60 

" Mater Dolorosa Belgica " : A Study reproduced in Facsimile 

Between pp. 64 and 65 

" The Feast of Lazarus." After the Second State of Etching No. 

139, on zinc, 28* X 19!' To face f. 68 

" Revolt." From a Chalk Sketch „ 72 

" St. Leonard's Abbey, near Tours." Rembrandt Photogravure 

after a Recent Etching not yet catalogued .... „ 80 

" Building the New Kensington Museum." Study in Water- 
colour for Etching No. 52 ...... . „ 88 

" Pont Neuf, Paris." Rembrandt Photogravure after a Recent 

Etching not yet catalogued . . . . . . ,, 104 

" Church of Notre Dame, Eu." Sketch in Water-colour for Etch- 
ing No. 143. {By permission of R. A. Workman, Esq.) . . „ 112 

'' The Return from Work in a Shipyard." Rembrandt Photo- 
gravure after Etching No. 107, on zinc, 311" x 21^" . . ,, 120 

" Men in a Bakehouse at Montreuil-sur-Mer." Rembrandt Photo- 
gravure after Etching No. 132, on zinc, 20" x 25!" . . . ,, 128 

" Coal-mine after an Explosion." Rembrandt Photogravure after 

Etching No. 59, on zinc, 19* x 24J" „ 136 

" Church of Notre Dame at Eu." After Etching No. 143, on 

zinc, 30^' X 23J' ,,144 

' The Cloisters of Airvault Church." Rembrandt Photogravure 

after a Recent Etching not yet catalogued . . „ 152 



the United 

" The Nativity." Study for Etching No. 199 . . Between 

War Cartoon : " Off to the Front " . 

War Poster : " British Troops occupy Dixmude " 

War Poster for " L'Orphelinat des Armees " 

War Cartoon : " A Solitary Prisoner " 

War Poster : " Antwerp— The Last Boat " . 

War Poster for " L'Orphelinat des Armees " 

The Smaller Postei for the United States Navy 

Sketch for the Larger Poster drawn on Stone 

States Navy ..... 

War Poster : " In the Belgian Trenches " . 

" A Boxing Match " 

" St. Paul Preaching." Cartoon for a Panel ii 

Christ's Hospital, Horsham . 
" Fruit-pickers." Sketch for a Panel in Mullgardt's Court of the 

the Ages, Panama Exhibition. {The Blocks lent by " The Studio 

Magazine ") ......... 

" An Old-time Shipyard " 

Woodcut : " The Exodus " ..... Between 

" An Old Street in Antwerp." Drawing for A Book of Belgium, 

by Brangwyn and Hugh Stokes. (Kegan Paul and Co.) . 
" Pont des Baudets at Bruges." Drawing for A Book of Belgium, 

by Brangwyn and Hugh Stokes. (Kegan Paul and Co.) . 

" Interior of the Church at Dixmude " 

" The Duomo, Taormina." From a Water-colour Sketch. {^By 

permission of R. A. Workman, Esq.) ..... 
" Messina after the Earthquake." From a Water-colour Sketch. 

{By permission of R. A. Workman, Esq.) .... 

Study for Etching No. 154 : " Shrine of the Immaculate Virgin, 

Messina." {By permission of Frank Fulford, Esq.) . 
Study for a Panel in the Hall of the Skinners' Company, London 


Study for " The Blacksmiths " 

" St. Paul arrives in Rome." Study for a Panel in the Chapel. 

Christ's Hospital, Horsham ....... 

Sketch for a Poster : " Rebuilding Belgium " . . . . 

pp. 160 and 161 
To face p. 168 

Chapel at 

Between pp. 208 and 209 

To face p. 212 


pp. 220 and 21 z 

To face p. 224 





pp. 248 and 249 
To face p. 252 





' good story may be told usefully 
about an American visitor in 
London, a dollar democrat and 
dictator, who liked very much 
the modern movements in art 
and literature. He had no wish to put his money into furniture 
that belonged, more or less, to half a dozen centuries and countries; 
never did he yearn to set up his quarters in a museum house as 
variously old as Warwick Castle, nor in a new " classic " mansion 
shining with marble and Portland stone ; and, more noteworthy 
still, he was discreet enough to believe that the Old Masters of 
painting would live on all right without help from his millions. 
Dealers were troubled, perplexed, annoyed, astounded ; and the 
millionaire's secretary — not a girl in those days, but a plain man 
accented in Philadelphia and sharpened in New York — was bored all 
day long by the silken guile of certain high financiers of the Trade 
who baited their traps with mercantile warnings and costly master- 
pieces. As collectors like to tell themselves with pride that they are 
expert investors, the American heard that modernized art was unsafe, 
a mere quicksand that swallowed up changing fashions. Young 
executors got near to grey hair when they had to turn yesterday's 
fame into gold at auctions. Great dealers alone were safe trustees 
for posterity when much money had to be lent at a proper interest 
to the fine arts. Had they not for sale many old pictures so far- 
famed, and so coveted by public museums, those glorious paupers in 
the markets, that a millionaire could buy them at their present Alpine 
prices and yet be aware that he had gilt-framed securities, whose 
money value would continue to leap upwards? 

"Very tropical, these old big boys," the American said. " Could I not 
keep hot in winter, blizzard or no blizzard, if I looked at their prices ? 
But I'm out to see the young big boys, who're in flesh and blood still. 

thank my lucky stars. So I take my choice — and go slow. There's 
Lutyens. You know Lutyens? He's good enough for me in architec- 
ture. No Jack and the Beanstalk in Lutyens ; he didn't grow out of 
nothing except magic. He's all there — himself^ but with some ages 
and sages in him. And I'm captured by two or three British painters. 
Not more at present. Don't ask me to be a hotel where volunteers 
lodge and do what they please. Some years ago I set my eye rang- 
ing over Brangwyn, who's as easy to see as New York if he comes 
your way. Here's my man in etching and my man with the big 
brush. Large . . . ! He's mighty large is Brangwyn. Have I seen 
already some acres of Brangwyn? Maybe more. Yes. And I've 
seen a bit of him in the States, where Nature and the towns are all 
large: and Brangwyn's in scale. Aren't you tickled with joy when 
a big painter in the States keeps his backbone and his own size and 
space, refusing to be fixed up as a pigmy for a cabinet? You see 
what I mean ? Stars, but you ought to see ! Let me fudge a bit 
with words, then. Great nations and times. . . . They don't need 
painters who're only villages in genius. What they need are big 
fellows who're provinces in genius. You agree? Surely. Gulliver's 

grand among the Lilliputians ; but tell me what he is in Brobding- 
nag? Is he more than a bit of human snufF for a splendid giantess 
to take in with her breath through the corridors of her nostrils? 
No ! And I maintain, too, that our age is too much of a Brobding- 
nag for most painters, etchers, sculptors, and writers. Let me have 
Brangwyn, then, and a few others. Not more. 'Few but Fit' is 
my motto." 

One evening the millionaire talked in this way to a knot of guests — 
several painters and several writers on art. He had seen the Brang- 
wyns in the Skinners' Hall, and they made him feel quite small 
enough to be happy. But all at once he noticed that his guests were 
mum and glum. They fingered their bread restlessly, and their 
nostrils looked bellicose. The millionaire wondered why. Was 
Brangwyn not their man? Did they dislike the Brangwyn paint 
and colour, opulent, sumptuous, alive? or his lusty manliness, a 
generous great swagger free from bombast, and as natural and way- 
ward as winds, harvests, and the sea? 

These questions were to a friendly evening what sparks are to a train 
of gunpowder. One by one the guests made F. B. into their target, 
and soon they shot their criticisms so rapidly that volley-firing began. 
The American raised his eyebrows and listened with amused, ironic 
patience. "Well, gentlemen," he said at last, "you've talked, and 
I'll admit that a painter you dislike might write much in praise of 
deafness. But I know a thing or two. In my time I've cursed the 
Rockies, for the Rockies don't suit me when I'm tired, stale, cheap, 
and glad to be coddled by my daughter. Is Brangwyn too robust 
for you, gentlemen ? Is he your Rockies ? It must be so if you 
mean what you have said. But it can't be helped. Mishaps in 
sympathy and taste come of their own accord ; but if Brangwyn had 
been born in my own country, and if I disliked him as much as you 
do, I should still be no end proud that he belonged to the States, as 
I want the States to be large and great all round. Besides which, 
surely, it's good to live and let live in the art of our own day. To 
be cocksure when one is nasty towards a big man is to forget that 
the big man will be alive and big many generations after I've got 
back somehow, anyhow, into dust. My business after death is to 
nourish tulips and snowdrops. Let me alone, then. I enjoy the 
ages to come, ntmi — enjoy 'em all I can in the greatness of a few big 
men, who are my neighbours in the flesh. Faults, failings? Of 
course he has faults, large, ample, and daring faults! How could a 



u ;^)^:^1^ 

big man grow bigger if he had no 
big faults to correct? Right or 
wrong, then, gentlemen, give me 
Brangwyn! Will you drink to his 

Is this good story true? In critic- 
ism it is, no doubt, being a story 
with "undergarments," as mild and 
good old William Hunt used to 
say when work had depth and 
substance ; but it may have been 
in part invented. Perhaps a satirist 
wanted to break ridicule on certain 
painters and writers who in recent 
years — as if obeying one of Nature's rules, that small organic things 
must be offensive, like bantams and bacteria — have tried to police 
all the aesthetic judgment in vast London, our nation-city. How 
confident they have been of their associated worth, their newness 
and their originality ! Upon my word, they have forgotten that 
only minor minds yearn to be quite new and entirely original, 
because an art wholly new and original would be as wonderful as 
a new species of mankind. 

To be original, to have a style in the blood, as Brangwyn has had 
since boyhood,* is a very uncommon birthgift, most people always 
being other people also : and when it is present, present as true genius, 
it borrows from work old and new, choosing for its alembic any 
materials which are useful and necessary. Turner, the most original 
and various of modern painters, played the covetous bee with passion, 
and even in work seldom noticed to-day, as in naval pictures by 
De Loutherbourg.t And Shakespeare also knew what was his by 
right of conquest in the arts of other men. As there would be no 
vast rivers if tributaries went their way alone to the sea, so there 
would be no unusual greatness if big men did not collect enough from 
their forerunners and from their contemporaries, while keeping their 

* Professor Selwyn Image, to -whom in this book I owe many debts of most pleasant 
gratitude, was greatly struck by this fact when Brangwyn was only sixteen. In those 
days, from time to time, they made a small etching together or in company, after the boy 
had shown his friend how to attack a plate. 

t He stole from Loutherbourg his idea for "The Battle of the Nile," exhibited 1799, 
as he got hints from the Poussins for the "Fifth Plague of Egypt," 1 800, and the 
"Tenth Plague of Egypt," 1802. 

own magic atmosphere. Brang- 
wyn's observation has ranged freely 
through the arts ; he has collected 
much, but never as a conscious 
copyist; and digestion being trans- 
mutation, we find in his best work 
tew quotations, and no stolen 
plumes dishonour his output. 
True genius has two aspects: it 
appears to be human nature in 
essence, a single creative agent witli 
a double sex, its qualities being in 
part masculine and in part femin- 
ine ; and it belongs to no time 
exclusively. Heir ot the ages past, 
and selector from all influences current in its own day, true genius 
blends what is undying in itself with other imperishable things 
chosen, conquered, assimilated, and is fit to prove that classics 
are the only futurists. In Brangwyn's genius the male attributes 
hold empire over the female, while in much modern genius the 
male attributes are too chivalrous, so apt are they to yield pre- 
cedence to the female qualities. Take Burne-Jones as an example, 
and note the contrast between him and Augustus John. In the 
johannine genius the male qualities dominate, with plebeian energy 
and a candour not always apt; in Burne-Jones, I ask leave to say, 
the feminine attributes often govern as spinsters always remote 
from common life, yet never quite at ease in their isle of dreams. A 
Burne-Jones knight of the Middle Ages appears to wear armour as 
a protection against thorns during sweet adventures among rose 
bushes ; and the Burne-Jones women, once so much adored, are they 
not maladive and self-pitiful, as if their only joy was a mild pride in 
their ability to feel unreal grief? To me it seems patriotic always to 
look out for those painters and writers who are brave, bold, and 
strong, each with his own limits and blemishes. For the genius of 
earlier England was masterful, our Elizabethan playwrights having 
the same mettle as the sea-rovers, and Milton a close kinship with 
Cromwell's Ironsides. So I am glad that Brangwyn at his best has 
in him enough East and enough West to represent our later England 
and her empire. 


If truisms were understood by artists, writers, and the people, quarrels 
over opinions would be rare and our world would be somewhat of a 
paradise. Enterprise would be judged, not as a thing to split us up 
into bickering factions, but as a thing to be watched and discussed 
quietly, because it lives from within itself or dies from within itself 
Ill-tempered criticism implies absurd beliefs : that violent censure can 
destroy life in enduring enterprise, or that excessive praise can keep 
life in perishable novelties. 

No student of the fine arts ought to speak in public about his likes 
and dislikes until he understands these and other truisms. He should 
call up before his judgment the mingled benefits and banes in criticism 
and controversy, questioning and cross-questioning his candour until 
he knows why he wants to speak publicly about his likes and dislikes, 
and also how he must try to speak in order to be of any use at all to 
good work and the nation. Let him get rid of the stock belief that 
truth-seeking alone is the ideal to be made real.* Truth-seeking, we 
may assume, made its beginning with the first men, and will end with 
the final generation; and what has it produced? Infinite good and 
infinite evil. Who can weigh and measure the harm done by the 
worst products of truth-seeking : fierce zealotries, envenomed per- 
secutions, anarchy in politics, and the untruth that enthusiasts rarely 
fail to speak? Truth-seeking and truth-speaking are infrequent 
friends; and few critics remember that past efforts of truth-seeking 
have collected a great many sovereign truisms, which should be to 
our moral judgment what clocks, watches, railway guides, maps, arc- 
to our material needs. 

It is a sovereign truism that a day without a good fight in it is a day 
lost. Contention is a thing invaluable when just limits arc set to it 
by sound reason. There is no better stimulus, and it is feared by the 
toadies who gather about great men and often deprave the develop- 
ment of greatness. Even wrongheaded combat is infinitely better 
than apathy, and better also than overmuch tolerance. Nature has 
hours of peace in years of struggle, and we as Nature's children take 
part in her wondrous duet between life and strife ; but, somehow, few 

* Robert Browning says : — 

"Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise 
From outward things, whate'er you may believe. 
There is an inmost centre in us all, 
Where truth abides in fulness." 

persons ever take pains to be sure that they are fighting in the best 
way for the right men or the best causes. With the over-confidence 
of youth they become dogmatists in their teens, and travel on through 
their more virile years until they learn from bitter experience that 
most fanaticisms have the vogue of fashions. No wonder the 
middle-aged are often younger than the young ; they have outgrown 
those disenchantments that youth seeks and finds, generation after 

More than once I have talked with Brangwyn about these matters. 
The young who revered our pre-Raphaelites as masters who would 
govern the future, were displaced by youngsters who gave their 
worship to plein air and square brushes. None could say briefly, or 
even at all clearly in many words, what this plein air doctrine was ; 
but modest Bastien Lepage came to be accepted as plein air; and 
around this humble man devotees thronged, until the real Impres- 
sionists invited and received more insulting criticism and slander. 
Since then we have had many other innovators, and each group has 
collected rapt idolatry and virulent abuse. 

Even the best of these sects wronged themselves often by being far 
too self-conscious, wasting their energy in talk as kettles waste the 
motive-power of steam. Their ablest men live on mainly at second 
hand, as fertilisers, just as last year's rain and sun and toil live on 
in this year's harvests and the bread we eat. Brangwyn borrowed 
from Impressionists all that he required, as J. S. Sargent took what 
he needed, like Charles Cottet, Lucien Simon, and many others. 
Unless we remember the defects of modernized peoples — their self- 
absorption and profuse cant, and their self-advertisement — we cannot 
be fair to the pathfinders in modernized art. Painters, sculptors, 
authors, craftsmen of every sort, with only an exception here and 
there, have found in their noisy journalized age a persistent foe, 
whose prying fuss and flurry have irritated all weak spots in their 
characters, causing youngsters to set greater store by the cockiness 
of wayward inexperience. Brangwyn has fared much better than 
have a great many other painters of his generation, natural shyness 
and a keen sense of the ridiculous having kept him apart from the 
self-conscious and their fluid talk ; but it appears to me always that, 
had he been born in the times of spacious Tintoret, or in the 
atmosphere that made Rubens and the Netherlands equals and boon 
companions, his lot as a creative worker would have been a great 
deal happier and richer. 

Even the huge size of modernized towns keeps great men from 
knowing enough at first-hand about one another; either it divides 
them into rival sects and parties, or it produces by reaction a hermit 
craze, as in poor Mathieu Maris. Turner appears to have been the 
last of those big men who passed through their evolution as naturally 
as corn grows through a changeful season ; though even he felt that 
his times were his foes. A premeditated egoism was all around him; 
and while one faction declared that progress and steam-machines 
travelled together at increasing speed, another faction was alarmed 
by the gathering evils of industrialism and injustice. Dickens him- 
self, brooding over the miseries of his age, grew from Pickwick into 
a social reformer, wistful and impatient. Men of science found 
progress among the pains of creeping evolution, while democrats 
wanted to snatch Utopia from fierce political controversy, aided by 
fierce controversies over art and fiercer controversies over the Re- 
nanized gospels. " Lord, what fools these mortals be ! •" as Puck 
cries truly from Shakespeare's wisdom. As a preparation for 19 14, 
when we were caught napping after fifty years of warning, Vic- 
torianism was no doubt invaluable. 

Controversies over the dead are often necessary, of course, but what 
are they worth to living men and movements ? It is a difficult 
question. Can they gain anything lasting from ill-temper, excessive 
statement, and injustice? Year after year Brangwyn would have 
cancelled his work if he had tried to obey the profusely varied 
opinions, often hostile, which have come to him as zealous volun- 
teers. When he was sixteen or seventeen, and at work one day in 
South Kensington Museum, a famous painter told h.m — the hint 
was broad and plain — to look out for another career. Most fault- 
finding is a boon only in matters of fact ; and it needs always well- 
tested evidence, careful revision, and sedulous impartiality. Really 
great men get this fact from their intuitions, and they like to be 
prodigal in the charity of encouragement, like Sir Walter Scott. 
A big man of fine mettle will defend all honest work, though it 
may clash at all points with his own; and he will not waste time 
by using either bastinado or knout when impenitent dullards and 
recidivists worry the literary and artistic world. Dullards and im- 
postors need banter and ridicule ; bastinado and knout should be 
kept for those statesmen who impose tragedies on their native land, 
and also for newspaper cant, clap-trap, and other phases of pesti- 
lential humbug. 



It is the small men who try to kill their forerunners, or who snarl 
and bite when innovations offend against convention and custom. 
And yet, how can society be harmed by even the most inferior 
painters and draughtsmen ? All the feeble painters of a century do 
less harm to domestic life than is done in a year by a few bad 
plumbers and by shoddy furniture. How tame they are when we 
compare their work with the mischief noised abroad by industrial 
quarrels or by shrieking falsehood in newspaper headlines! Is it then 
worth while to make much ado about inferior prints, drawings, and 
paintings? To strike at them in fierce criticisms is to strike also at 
many poor homes and families; and what right have we to assail 
breadwinning? As a rule it is persons without self-control who 
are most eager to control other persons.* As the east winds of 
humanity, they feel nothing when they ravage a victim's inmost 

To meditate over these matters is to be convinced that quiet and 
honest interpretation, not sectarian criticism or bitter controversy, 
is the true office for a writer on art to fulfil. Let him choose what 
he loves best, and then let him show all its qualities in order to 
explain why he loves it best in its finer and finest work. To be a 
bond of union between this chosen work and the reading public is 
a useful and necessary office in national service, because art — good 
workmanship and great — is only a hermit when it is studied and 
liked by small circles only. In Ancient Greece, let us remember, 
art, religion, and the people seem to have been almost as united as 
the air's constituents; and even the unlettered of the Renaissance 
were at home in the varied inspiration that genius called into 
pictorial presence from the same Bible stories. To-day, on the other 
hand, so estranged is art from the people, so cloistered in experts, 
that many phases of fine work are not regarded as art, and many a 
picture show is visited by few except artists and writers on painting, 
etching, and sculpture. The only picture shows that " pay " are 
kinema theatres. Even our Royal Academy has fallen into leanish 
years from the overthronged enthusiasm of the eighteen-eighties. 
Surely, then, there's need enough for less sectarian criticism and con- 
troversy, and need enough also for a great many interpreters.! 

* It is a fact of common observation that men who have given their lives to the study 
of Greek and Latin, and who know but little of present-day ^affairs, are likely to lose 
their heads with pedantry and venom when they review current work. They forget 
that even the humour of Shakespeare finds pedants wearisome. 
I See Chapter I for a detailed analysis of what interpretation in art means. 

c 9 

In 1 910 I tried in a book to review the early art and life of 
Brangwyn,* in order to show that adventures in his life and sequent 
phases of development in his work are akin and allied. It became 
my business to hit out from the shoulder — not, of course, against 
candid opinions, but — against abusive criticism; my necessary busi- 
ness, too, because I had followed the evil from year to year through 
many thousands of newspaper attacks on Brangwyn. But critics 
hate to be criticized, just as surgeons hate to be cases for an exploring 
hand and knife to work upon. Thus my counter-attack was resented 
here and there, some critics feeling as aggrieved as troops would be 
at Bisley if a target began all at once to fire back at their marksman- 
ship. Their vanity was too sensitive. To resent unfair attacks on 
a big man is one of those privileges which small men should add to 
their belief in fair play. 

Consider also another point. What is the imagined plot of a novel 
when we compare it with many of the hard, adventurous lives 
through which artists have struggled into fame? Romance at second- 
hand is in novels, while romance at first-hand is in biography and 
the wonders of politics, which Napoleon described as Destiny. But 
this greater romance, as a rule, is much more difficult to make real 
in books than that which novelists weave around their imagined 
plots and persons. Sensier made only a twilight story from 
Millet's romance; he feared to keep at close quarters with his 
living plot and its great story, lest Millet should be hurt in his 
deeper pride. 

Here's the rub always. Not more than a sketch can be written of 
the romance in a living man's career; but I am happy to say that 
my incomplete sketch of Brangwyn's early life and work has not yet 
been overwhelmed by the transitory novels that come and go with 
the literary year's brief seasons. If, then, you set up your home in 
the work of a man of genius and try to speak about it as truly as you 
can, good luck may come to you from your subject, as Sensier found 
a lifebelt in Millet and Fromentin mainly in that fine, rich book, 
Les Maitres tf Autrefois. 

It appears to me that Fromentin is among the few safe guides that 
young writers on art can read and read again. He employs with 
rare tact the atmosphere of social history that should remain around 
genuine classics; he is humbled into discretion by the fact that a 

* Frank Brangwyn and His Work: I910. Second edition, I9I5. Kegan Paul, 
Trench, Trlibner and Co., Ltd., Broadway House, Carter Lane, London, B.C. 


student's abilities must always be lean and mean when they are com- 
pared with the aggregate of genius in the permanent masters; and 
he forgets only here and there how swift is the reaction in most 
readers when praise and blame are overdone. 

Who can explain why the spiritual action and reaction of these ex- 
cesses are neglected studies? Even when they are studied with care, 
the ideal mean separating too much from too little in praise and 
blame is an El Dorado, as elusive as it is attractive. Who can guess 
at what point praise becomes irritating to most minds, or at what 
point fault-finding begins in most minds to provoke contradiction ? 

Some help 
from a few 
eign truisms. 
is that fault- 
much less 
write than 
ing with ease 
spate — into 
easy to under- 
wish to praise 
are obliged to 
ly, because 
qualities of 
words and 
Homer feared 
Helen lest his 
persuasion; so 
as a dream of 
mankind's imagination. 

can be got 
more sover- 
The first one 
finding is 
difficult to 
praise, flow- 
— often as a 
copy that is 
stand. If we 
truthfully we 
think patient- 
the higher 
art evade 
to describe 
words should 
of its eternal 
he left Helen 
loveliness in 
And the best art, is it not a thousandfold 

Helen? Yet we cannot in books leave her graces undescribed. In 
some way or other we have to put into sentences — often death 
sentences, too — what we see and feel and know about the qualities 
of great art. Thought and revision have to creep nearer and nearer 
to those epithets and phrases which are, or for a moment seem to be, 
akin to what we need, though even the best are but improved false 
steps among perils of the second-rate. Never are they better than 
photographs of sunsets; and as a radiance in monochrome is not a 
sunset, so the finest interpretation of art is not the whole art inter- 
preted: it is only a thing allied, affiliated, and a literary adventure. 


No wonder, then, that praise creeps, while fault-finding flows, into 

criticisms on art.* 

And another trouble is that praise needs from its readers a very alert 
sympathy for subtle shades of meaning, not in words and phrases 
only, but also in parallels, analogies, and other aids to reflective judg- 
ment. Have we a right in this newspaper age to expect from many 
persons the search and research that complete reading requires? I 
believe not, most minds being debauched by our newspaper Press. 
The collaboration between readers and good writers on art, as between 
spectators and painters, sculptors and architects, has to be coaxed from 
its apprenticeship into a popular custom and enjoyment. No wonder, 
then, that those who are skimmers only, not readers, become impa- 
tient when a writer on art makes many calls on their unwillingness 
to think seeingly. 

How many persons in a thousand ever try to remember that speech, 
written or spoken, is not real thought until it is seen under the form 
of visual conception : until it is present before the mind in pictures 
more or less clear and detailed? The highest thought, as in Shake- 
speare, is wondrously graphic, so closely is the vestment ot words 
fitted to the visible drama in ideas and characters beheld by the 
mind's many eyes. Shakespeare grows from one thought picture 
to another, often between commas, and we must grow with him it 
we wish to see his meaning. In each of his best plays Shakespeare 
is a National Gallery in Armada Square. 

These being the virtues of writing and the perils of reading, let us 
turn to another cardinal truism. Fault-finding is not only easier to 
write than praise and easier to read; it gives a longer pleasure to 
most persons, particularly when it is accompanied by cant about safe- 
guarding art's honour and the public taste. Even your most intimate 
friends, when you are praised in print, are apt to wonder "how the 
dickens you got at the reviewers"; and they feel a half-secret joy 
when a reviewer gets at you with rapier or bludgeon. | And I fear 
that our countrymen, with their habitual cant about peace, enjoy ^ 
primitive football in criticism, the rough-and-tumble of knouted 

* I employ the word art, of course, as meaning all good workmanship fit for its purpose. 

Art should be the soul of industries as well as the founder of National Galleries and 


f A famous author said to me : " "Whenever I am roasted by a reviewer a good many 

of mv friends find it worth while to let me know. They try to hide their joy, of 

course, but they can't and don't." 


censure, a good deal more than do most other peoples. Thus the 
French, when typically French, dislike such premeditated assault as 
Macaulay poured over Robert Montgomery. Do we need earth- 
quakes to kill mice? But lineage tells. In our language the verbs 
that describe the giving of pain, discomfort, or correction, are profuse 
and subtle: strike, knock, hit, bash, slap, rap, tap, thump, beat, punch, 
whip, bang, whack, thwack, batter, pelt, buffet, pound, belabour, 
bruise, chastise, castigate, trounce, whop, flog, hustle, hurtle, birch, 
drub, roast, and many others. Our forefathers seem to have ex- 
plored for neighbourliness in the maxim: "Bruise the flesh and 
better mankind." 

Out of all these considerations a few guiding rules emerge. Though 
readers, most readers, like praise to be rationed, sternly Rhonddaised, 
and censure to be as free as a Christmas dinner, it is a mark of an 
inferior mind to be niggardly in praise. Another rule is that censure, 
being easy to read and enjoy, is easy to remember, while praise, 
being hard to read with understanding, is hard to remember, so a 
little censure will cancel in most minds the effect ot much praise. 
As a rule, then, let censure be as a question asked; and let eulogy 
come as an offering to all from the honest joy we feel. Of course, 
an interpreter is bound by honour to his readers never to hide what 


he does not like and never to be false. But his tone must be modest 
and temperate.* 

Yet there are writers on art who play as recklessly with fault-finding 
as do shrewish women. In their hands the word "but" is a deadly 
bullet often, a sniping shot at point-blank range. Example: "Mr. 
So-and-so is a pupil of the Belgian school, and his vigour and variety 
are unaffected and welcome; but his colour is bad, as the painter has 
mixed his pigments with Ypres mud." Unhappy painter ! Who 
cares for his vigour and variety ? 

In 1 9 1 o I was accused of praising Brangwyn far too little and far too 
much : and both accusations were right to the persons who made 
them. One can but try to be neighbourly with that elusive some- 
what which prevents excess in the management of likes and dislikes. 
Some reviewers were offended by my use of the qualifying phrase, 
"at his best," though it is necessary when a big man's life-work is 
shown through its transitions. 


As the most reasonable and useful office of a 
writer on art is interpretation, let me try now 
to speak about what I regard as Brangwyn's 
present relation towards current movements. 
Since 1910, two agents of modernism have 
become well-known. One is post-Impres- 
sionism, so called, and the other is the 
composite art which has come with authority 
from Mestrovic. What a turmoil swirled 
around these influences ! A great many 
persons welcomed the post-Impressionists as 
they would welcome puppies fringed with 
tails; and who can forget the sentimental 
devotees who almost wept with joy .? Mestro- 
vic's followers appeared to forget the War, though they imagined 
that his finer sculpture, rotundly ample and alive with good health, 
came from centuries of persecution in the Balkans. 
Brangwyn was amused by the wrong pedigrees given with zeal 
to Mestrovic's virility. Having studied German sculpture, and the 

* Bacon says: "Too much magnifying of man or matter doth irritate contradiction, and 
produce envy and scorn." Hence Dr. Johnson tells us never to blast a reputation with 
exaggerated praise, nor let censure defeat itself by being overdone. 


Secessionists in Austria, he knew that our foes in this War had been 
tutors in pre-war times to Mestrovic, who had united a good deal 
from their full-blooded research to his own gifts, and also to his study 
both of early Gothic sculpture and of Southern Slav traditions. 
Greek and Roman sculpture also entered into the gleanings that 
Mestrovic alembicated, not always with success. A female nude 
gains nothing from an unwelcome pose; and is it wise in these days 
to hark back to early Gothic in order to portray Christ on the Cross 
as withered and mummified, a mere skeleton wrapped in shrivelled 
skin? Is Mestrovic a new Voltaire in his thoughts on Christianity ? 
Is it his aim to suggest that the ages have been as insincere to the in- 
ward spirit of Christianity as they have been honest towards the 
fecundity of women ? Not even the women summoned up into art 
by Rubens are more plenteous, more promiseful of lusty health in 
the next few generations, than the mourning widows in Mestrovic 

Public monuments alone will give to this big sculptor, this natural 
force, such opportunities as an abundant style needs in a swift rise 
to maturity. To keep the studio atmosphere out of art, and to set 
limits to the hindrances that local aims and ideals wield, are needs 
which all artists ought to keep prominently before their minds. 
Brangwyn forgets them now and then ; and Mestrovic also, though 
he, too, loves the inspiriting discipline of monumental work. The 
stronger an artist is, perhaps the more likely is he to copy from him- 
self when he gives his genius to studio pieces. 

Here and there Brangwyn copies from himself, like Augustus John ; 
and among those modernists who snarl at the academic, there are 
many who forget that he who copies from himself is auto-academic, 
and as uninspired as the pseudo-classicism of Leighton. French 
Impressionists dawdled too often in autograph moods and methods, 
sometimes halting within themselves like plants which have ceased 
to grow, and sometimes revolving around their past work like a top 
around its point. Later pathfinders also have trifled frequently with 
self-repetition, and some have drawn very near to automania, like 
the Cubists, who remind me often of enchanted gramophones able to 
make for themselves a few puzzled registers. Automatic repetition 
is common also in post-Impressionism, as in Gauguin, whose inferior 
work is but a variation on two or three ideas. Gauguin is an 
original colourist with a pleasant note in decoration ; but he made a 
cage for his zeal, and too often his zeal sings in it like a bird. 


But we must go to Van Gogh if we wish to see the primitive candour 
and passion that give to post-Impressionism a peculiar immaturity. 
Van Gogh enslaved his pigment and hustled it as a menial; his sur- 
faces are browbeaten, but his conception of Life and Nature is 
touchingly sincere. Though his vision is weak in focussing power, 
Van Gogh had fortunate hours. His portrait of himself reveals the 
whole man through and through : as a wayward spirit in art of a 
primeval vigour; as a rough-hewn man scarred and seared by suffer- 
ing; and also as a coloured bulk in space with air and light suffused 
around it, a transfiguring bath of atmosphere. 

What Van Gogh reached at times by hard-slogging effort, haltingly 
and with much grief, Brangwyn has achieved again and again, almost 
without premeditation, so unmindful has he been of self during his 
productive moods. Some artists behold as visions what they must 
needs do, while others, like Michelangelo and Beethoven, take much 
thought and time in the gestation of their germ-ideas ; but yet the 
great have one thing in common — they are unconscious of their 
greatness while they are doing their best work, so wrapped up are 
they in the joy that accompanies inspired production. As Milton 
wrote, " When God commands to take the trumpet and blow a 
dolorous or jarring blast, it lies not in man's will what he shall say 
or what he shall conceal." 

Poor Van Gogh, I fear, knew not this mood, this swift vagrant from 
the point of home to the point of heaven, though he came near to 
it in a picture of the Dead Christ. I think here of Jeremiah when 
reproach and derision harry him all day long, and the truth suppressed 
in his heart is as a burning fire shut up in his bones. What is poor 
Van Gogh in art but a rugged and homespun Jeremiah, labouring 
always through pain dimly to express the true? And how different 
is the spontaneous emotion in Brangwyn's etching of The Nativity, 
or in his austere oil-painting of The Crucifixion amid the clouded 
radiance of a malign sunset scowling towards darkness and earthquake ! 
In the babel of talk about Modernity, please note, it is often forgotten 
that genuine art is a big man's emotion* and its vision aided or im- 
peded by four cardinal influences: his temperamental endowment, 
the auto-customs of his brain, the training which he has received 
from all the sources open to his meditation and observation, and last, 
but not least, current history in all its phases and in all its actions and 

* Emotion. See Chapter I for an attempted analysis of emotion in the arts and in Brang- 
wyn's career. 



reactions. So a big man's art at its best, like it or like it not, is as 
inevitably what it is as any other among Nature's phenomena; and 
if at first you do not like it, be modest, just live with it as if you do 
like it, and friendship will come. 

Letters are addressed to me from time to time in which Brangwyn 
is slighted, as Turner was slighted ; and always I am expected to 
believe that art exists as an authoritative conception in every mind 
that puts into words some notions about art, though art depends for 
her existence on the varying gifts, temperaments and ideas with which 
talent and genius carry on from age to age an unbroken evolution, 
sometimes dispersive, at other times ordered into long-lasting tradi- 
tions and developing schools. Never can there be an absolute stan- 
dard by which every big man's art must be judged, as every genius 
produces a standard in part new. 

Suppose a Parliament of the greatest Dead could assemble near the 
Thames, and suppose it debated the modern movements in art and 
literature. Two or three Cavemen are there, for they discovered the 
birth of art among varied colours and patternings on and in a great 
many natural things, such as the plumage of birds; and it was they 
who made the first public galleries of art in firelit caverns. Side by 
side with these prehistoric primitives are the greatest of the simple 
best ones gone, often separated by words, but united by the universal 
appeal of colour, form and drama. What would this Parliament say 


of F. B. at his best? Would the most enterprising of the elect — Titian, 
Tintoret, Michelangelo, Rubens, Velasquez, Shakespeare, for example 
— find in him a lineal descendant as fitly good in his wayward time 
of industrialism as they were in their own epochs ? I believe so, 
because kinsmen in art know one another. They hang together like 
the fresh, sweet grapes on those orient bunches which were carried 
from the Promised Land, every berry a luscious round world of 
potential wine.* 

Yes, and the germs of all things present are to be found somewhere in 
the past. Take Caliban, for example, and note how akin he is to 
the pictures now drawn by scientists of the apelike progenitors in 
man's ancestry. For Shakespeare's art is closer than modernity — 
closer by enchanted miles — to the whole aesthetic truth. 


What is the whole esthetic truth .? Brangwyn 
is amused by the narrow answers that writers 
give to this question. Consider Ruskin's 
dogma: "I say that the art is greatest which 
conveys to the mind of the spectator by any 
means whatsoever the greatest number of the 
greatest ideas ; and I call an idea great in 
proportion as it is received by a higher 
faculty of the mind and as it more fully 
occupies, exercises, and exalts the faculty by 
which it is received. He is the greatest artist 
who has embodied the greatest number of 
the greatest ideas." 

Which art is the art: and who is the spectator? 
Has he a mind as wonderful as the aggregate of greatness to be 
studied — and studied in phases almost innumerable — as true art? 
If not, he is human, a spectator like Ruskin himself, with preju- 
dices, and some imperfect sympathies, and a judgment not always 
to be trusted. No such superman as the spectator of the art 
has ever existed or ever will exist ; and how is a great idea to 
be defined? Is Goneril or Regan a great idea? Does she add 
to our material comfort, or does she lift us above our ordinary 

* Do you remember Brangwyn's picture of the spies returning from the Promised Land? 
It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1908. A noble work full of sun, it hangs 
to-day in a sunny part of our Empire, the Art Gallery at Johannesburg. 


selves? Disgust mingled with fear is the tribute of just emotion 
that we all pay to Regan and Goneril. Yet these beautiful 
she-devils are masterpieces of art, as Nym and Pistol are among 
the dregs of debased manhood. Not all great ideas exercise and 
exalt the higher faculties of our minds. Many bring comfort 
to us and exaltation, while others may bring discomfort and 
worse feelings also. In fact. Nature and Mankind are either 
variously attractive or variously unattractive, or a diversified ming- 
ling of attraction and repulsion. Goneril and Regan are like those 
plants in which beauty and poison are united, or like those malign 
snakes which are exquisitely patterned. Remember, too, that we see 
them on the stage, and not merely in our minds when we read. 
Ruskin's thought, then, dallies with only a few sets of great ideas; 
invaluable sets, but as certain as the unpleasing sets to produce reac- 
tion if they are thrust into a routine and made tyrannous. To my 
mind, then, the greatest artists are they, who, not bestial and lewd, 
have embodied in the greatest number, with subtle wit, humour, 
and judgment, and good workmanship, the most varied and con- 
trastful emotions, ideas, and subjects. 

It is true, no doubt, that to-day's prints, drawings, and pictures, like to- 
day's books, have too little poetical persuasion, and too much of those 
qualities, terrene, penetrating, sincere, which are to the dark aspects 
of social and moral truth what medical research is to our physical 
ailments. Between right and wrong in the use of a little more and 
a little less, our common lot in all things moves to and fro, a 
pendulum swinging between action and reaction ; and swinging often 
so fast that we cannot say with truth what is actionary or what re- 
actionary. Brangwyn fears that a rebound from extreme modernism, 
already begun, may renew in art the false classic and the epicene, 
with other manifestations of cant and claptrap; and from the Satur- 
day Review (29 December, 19 17) I choose a warning: — 

"Roughly stated, the position is this: the older idea was that art was 
necessarily intended to distil exclusively the noble and beautiful from life; 
the new idea is that art is mainly concerned with the true, no matter how 
repugnant or bestial it is. The only concession made by the moderns, in 
literature if not always in painting, is that craftsmanship should be beautiful. 
Thus we have with the old schools" [but not among the Dutch and Flemish 
masters as a rule] "a conspiracy of silence and hush-up over the gross ugly 
facts of life, and with the new a frankness in expounding, and a deliberate 
insistence on, the crude or the obscene. Their charter, they consider, is 

their creed that what is good enough for God is good enough for them, and 
art, and that the great thing is to see life whole. But, with a curiously in- 
complete vision, they not infrequently confound the part with the whole. If 
life is not entirely white, it is surely not all black. Exclusive musing on the 
purely beautiful and noble soon starves art; but dwelling on the gross or 
cruel perpetually is no more nourishing. If it is humbug to give out that 
all is harmonious, exalted or refined, it is equally misleading to restrict one's 
statement to the opposite qualities." 

I know not who wrote these frank opinions. They invite and de- 
serve meditation; but varying atmosphere in and around art and life 
rules over our attitude towards ugly facts. We accept from the 
Elizabethan genius a great deal of stark realism that would offend 
us in to-day's work. It is easy to pick holes in modernity, its many 
very different atmospheres having no prestige sanctioned by long 
custom and centuries of transmitted vogue ; but let us not scratch at 
it with words like claws, misled by the false belief that excesses of 
ugly facts and ideas in to-day's handicrafts are worse in kind and more 
repugnant than similar excesses among those venerable classics who 
remain forever youthful. As Macaulay said : " The worst English 
writings of the seventeenth century are decent, compared with much 
that has been bequeathed to us by Greece and Rome. Plato, we 
have little doubt, was a much better man than Sir George Etherege. 
But Plato has written things at which Sir George Etherege would 
have shuddered. Buckhurst and Sedley, even in those wild orgies 
at the Cock, in Bow Street, for which they were pelted by the rabble 
and fined by the Court of King's Bench, would never have dared to 
hold such discourse as passed between Socrates and Phaidrus, on that 
fine summer day under the plane-tree, while the fountain warbled at 
their feet, and the cicadas chirped overhead." 

Let us be fair, then. Our current art and literature have in them 
much to provoke regret, yet they illustrate the swift-changing moods 
of our wayward epoch ; and. what need will there be for any his- 
torian to make on their behalf an apology as sophistical as the one 
which good Charles Lamb offered for the impure comic dramatists 
of the Restoration ? 

Still reactions are capricious, erratic, incalculable ; and we know also 
how buyers are managed by " criticism " from our noisepaper Press, 
which advertises for payment any sort of shoddy made by factories, 
yet helps many a phase of honest effort in good work to lose its 
vogue, as if artists were dresses and hats. When lesthetic fashions 



( By permission of the Rcwhy Gallery, 

go, men of genius often disappear for a considerable time; and a re- 
bound from modernism, already begun, is unlikely to befriend that 
candour towards the true which many artists and writers of to-day 
reveal. It is this candour alone that can disentangle our country 
from petted and very perilous defects : habitual cant, with chattering 
self-righteousness; and very culpable negligence towards unwelcome 
facts, with other sorts of debilitating self-deception. Brangwyn is 
as frank as Beaconsfield in his contempt for claptrap. No cant de- 
praves his art : an art bred and braced at sea, trained abroad by free 
air adventure, matured at home by diverse and intrepid work, 
and not yet at its meridian. 




imotion in art is thought and 
life in unnumbered phases, and 
chief among these phases are the 
qualities with which genius and 
.talent are endowed from age to 
age. Never can we hope to interpret any artist unless we transfuse 
into the words we employ an increasing amount of his qualities. 
We must let his work act on us until our feelings repeat the 
modulated emotions that rule over his career. In other words, we 
must try to see as he sees and to feel as he feels, then his best work 
will direct us always, just as good musicians are directed by the 
composers whom t/iey interpret — whom they translate into ordered 
sound from the gifted silence of print. 

It is easy to see when a writer on art is at home within the emotion 
that his chosen master circulates, for the way in which he writes 
becomes akin to the master's appeal. If he writes in the same manner 
when he goes from one artist to another, he is only a diarist who 
relates what he likes and dislikes as an egoist outside his chosen studies. 
Such diarists can be reckoned up by dozens, and the reading public 
should learn to scorn them by comparing their unresponsive words 
with the varied emotion by which artists are set apart from one 
another. What would happen in a concert hall if musicians played 
Wagner as they played Beethoven .? They would be ridiculed as 
fools. Yet few persons care when blunders equally absurd come in 
a routine from writers on painting and on other handicrafts. Egoist 
after egoist delivers judgments unashamed on all arts all day long, 
yet his hearers and readers do not join the striking classes. 
But it cannot be helped. To listen thoughtfully is hard work, and 
the general reader skims over so much print that he has no wish to 
delay his eye-exercise by thinking. He knows not how to judge the 
verdicts which writers on art put before him with fluent authority. 
And consider the trade which writing for the Press on art has kept in 
fashion. Exhibitions of many sorts have to be viewed and reviewed, 
often in a scamper, and newspapers cannot live unless they live to 
please. Vulgar ways of looking at things and vulgar ways of speak- 
ing about them belong to the peremptory needs of journalism, so a 
man who writes on art for the newspaper Press must be a journalist ; 
and since he is called upon to have his say freely on many hundreds 


of artists, old and new, his trade requires from him a mixture of 
warm self-confidence and encyclopedic half-knowledge. Now and 
then, no doubt, sagacious fatuity may get him into trouble, though 
its vogue is rarely challenged. 

False interpretation is displayed in a great many random opinions. 
There are modernists who seem to believe that emotion and current 
movements came into art at the same moment. They tell the world 
that modernism is emotion from artists and authors, as though earlier 
arts had come somehow from paralysis, which cuts off emotion — 
either partly or entirely — from its dynamo, the human brain. What 
would a Shakespeare be if a spot of blood from a ruptured vessel 
blotted his brain? His emotion would lose its potential comedies 
and tragedies, just as Joseph Chamberlain lost his enthusiasm, with 
his worth to the State, in a stroke of incomplete paralysis. 
Every action of every brain has its birth in an emotion, and the 
emotion may be very simple or very complex. If you say, "I'll move 
my little finger," the emotion is very simple; but if you say, "I'll 
play an exercise on the piano with both hands and as rapidly as I can," 
the governing emotion begins to be manifold; but yet it is quite 
simple when compared with the multiple emotion that sways a great 
violinist, who discovers to us the genius of a composer whom he 
interprets, while revealing his own mellow gifts. 
Great emotion wins from a violin tones and notes which are uncanny. 
No Stradivarius had them in his mind when he made the violin, and 
thus the instrument seems to be remade and perfected by a great 
player, who seems also to remake the composers he loves best, though 
he rarely loses them in the pride of his genius. We see, then, that 
emotion from a fine violin is a very complex art : a great composer 
plus the responsive genius of a great interpreter and plus the apt skill 
with which the instrument was fashioned by a great craftsman. Here 
is an orchestration of emotions, and it claims from us a fitting sym- 
pathy in gifts of the spirit. How can we respond to its appeal 
unless we are other musical instruments within its enchantment? * 
* It is worth noting that Van Gogh used in a vague way a parallel between pictorial art 
and the violin. During 1 889-90, when he was ill at Saint-Remy, he played the sedu- 
lous ape with reasonable thought to a good many men, including Rembrandt, Delacroix, 
Daumier, and Millet. He would take a print in black-and-white by Millet, for instance, 
and then translate freely into colour the impression made upon him by the monochrome. 
And he said, " Mon p'mceau va entre mes doigts comme ferait un archet mr le ■uiolon.'" Van 
Gogh played his violin even from Gustave Dore, for his picture of the "Prison Yard" 
was adapted from one of Dore's drawings — " London : A Pilgrimage," 1872. Is it not 
pleasant to note this exploring modesty in Van Gogh's self-assertion ? 


Even persons who rarely go from words into real thought feel what 
happens when they are captured and moved by noble music. Rapt 
in the other-worldly sounds, they are carried afar off from their 
common selves. But prints, drawings, paintings, though musical 
with an orchestration of their own, make only a dull appeal to most 
persons, and for three reasons mainly. Not only are these arts 
materialized by their tools and pigments, and not only do they give a 
new presence to objects and effects more or less known to all mankind, 
and therefore likely to be criticized by all mankind ; but also they are 
apt to set in motion the hurried reading habit acquired from newspapers 
and novels. Most persons believe that pictorial art is a thing, not 
to stir them into emotion like music, but to be read, perused, like 
printed pages and photographs. They want artists to blend in their 

work the story ^^^ 
the camera's fact- ^^ 
takes them a long ^ 
geniuses, the fine 
mate life, are 
Nature. A man 
right to let him- 
thrall by what 
him; his work 
to endow what 
he feels and 
wondrous some- 
ever his own new 

teller's gifts and 
fulness ; and it 
time to learn that 
flower of all ani- 
above inanimate 
of genius has no 
self be held in 
he sees around 
on our globe is 
he sees with what 
thinks, adding a 
what that is for 
sift to mankind. 

Yet most persons wish painters of genius to vie with the many 
millions of landscapes and story-telling scenes which are framed 
everywhere by window casements! 

The useful and necessary thing, then, is to persuade writers on art 
that their difficult duty is to teach ordinary persons how to study 
prints, drawings, paintings, and other phases of the good workman- 
ship named Art ; how to dwell inside the enchantment of true art, 
how to share the emotions with which genius and talent produce a 
life beyond life. This duet of wise feeling between a student and his 
chosen artists will never be perfect, but why is it neglected ? Although 
a very wide gap keeps our artists far off from the people, and also 
from their rightful part in national service, not many real efforts are 
made to set up a bridge of sympathy.* Indeed, even artist after 
* I do not forget the work begun in 1915 by the Design and Industries Association, 
nor the patriotic enterprise of The Studio Magazine. 


artist — and now and then Brangwyn is among the number — some- 
times fights against himself by putting in his work a staring discord, 
which he would leave out if he remembered that greatness ought to 
attract duffers while claiming from the wise the whole of their 

Shakespeare's groundling audience knows and loves the Master, just 
as it knows and loves sunlight; and, as we have seen, no great arts 
exist outside themselves until their spirit is transfused by kindred 
emotion into an increasing number of interpreters.* Why, then, 
should any artist obstruct his present and his future by hurting any 
just sensitiveness that is common in human nature? To place art in 
the domain of tastes acquired, and acquired with slow effort, is a 
blunder made by many modernists, as if art found with so much ease 
a receptive public that it could not be estranged from mankind by 
overcrowding it with problems and provocations. In technique, 
above all, many modernists have been too rash, forgetting the lesson 
of modesty which Shakespeare in "Hamlet" gives to the players. 
jThe passing of emotion from artists to their students is impeded by 
an excessive display of seasonal whims and methods. Good school 
are invaluable because their technique has growth — they and their 
disciples grow up together — while sects in art are often troublesome, 
so apt are they to generate rival sects by reaction, hindering a national 
study of ordered change in the means by which good design, good 
workmanship, true art, in short, is kept alive and generative. 
And these facts lead on to others of equal value. If you are at home 
within Brangwyn's best work, you complete Brangwyn's best appeal 
by collaborating with its changing emotion ; if you are not a guest 
within his best art, yet pick holes in it from outside, you wrong it 
and him ; and what if at times you are hurt by something not essential 
to the work as art ? Then Brangwyn wrongs himself and you by 
allowing a discord to remain between his appeal and your eager wish 
to be his near kinsman in feeling. 

Briefly, then, we can no more separate a painter from the public 
than we can separate a musician from his audience, or a playwright 
from the pit and gallery. But there is no need for him to make 
weak and foolish concessions. Many concessions he must make 

* Imagine all the masterpieces of pictorial and graphic art lost on an island uninhabited; 
and now imagine their discovery : first by rude sailors, then by half-ignorant passengers, 
and then by persons of true genius. They do not exist as known masterpieces until 
genius perceives their value. 

E 25 

both in and to his art, but they are governed by that sound judgment 
which rules over all safety and progress in human affairs. 


But yet, of course, there's the eternal 
hitch between knowing how to do and 
knowing what ought to be done.* 
Consider the need of knowing precisely 
what we mean when we speak of 
emotion in Brangwyn's handiwork, or 
in any other work that merits daily 
investments from the uncertain time in 
our transitory lives. We give our all 
when we give our months and years to 
the interpretation of an artist's genius; 
and yet, so far ofF are words from the 
effects stored up by emotion in pictorial 
and graphic art, that a true analysis of Brangwyn's gifts of the spirit 
cannot be written without much groping and many tentative 

First of all, then, let us try to put a ground-plan around this eluding 
analysis. To me it seems evident that Brangwyn's emotion, and 
emotion in every other genius, ought to be divided into four periods: 

1 . The primitive period of childhood and early youth, when emotion 
is often so unsought, so unpremeditated, so inborn and instantaneous, 
that we may describe it as instinctive, like the constructive routine 
shown by bees in their honeycomb, and by Australian bower-birds 
in their gabled and adorned little halls of courtship, which Darwin 
studied with glad surprise. 

2. The early period of conscious observation, research, and effort, 
when emotion becomes manifold, collecting inspiration from a great 
many sources old and new, but without losing its birthright of in- 
tuition or instinct. 

3. The period of manhood, when complex emotion is exercised and 
matured, usually in the development of those qualities that come 
freely from a dominant passion or bent. 

* Portia says : " If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had 
been churches, and poor men's cottages princes' palaces. ... I can easier teach twenty 
what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching." 


4. The period of middle-age, when emotion is likely to be chastened 
by a gradual change in the mind's outlook, concentration becoming 
easier as ideas become less frequent and less tyrannous,* 

Brangwyn has passed through three of these periods, and has made 
two or three steps into the fourth. 

Further, it is my belief that the emotion in a true artist's happy toil 
ought to be summed up in two phases: his moods and what I ven- 
ture to call his technical inspiration. Let us now try to learn how 
these two phases are to be viewed by minds that see clearly. 
Brangwyn talks about his moods, like every other artist. What 
does he mean .? Now and then he may mean no more than that he 
is fit for work and eager to be busy; as all artists, somehow, from 
time to time, pay a tax of days to idleness, rather than learn that a 
desire to work will come in working, like warmth on a cold day from 
exercise. Poor Dalziel, the engraver, needed about fifteen years in 
which to collect the drawings which he had commissioned for his 
book of Bible pictures. But there are other moods, and they mean 
definite things in productive work, and notably the points of view 
from which an artist will see and feel his chosen motif. 
During these sagacious moods he will choose the key in which he 
will harmonise his effects, and will get what we may call his outward 
emotion, or envelope of emotion, with which to surround the inward 
and spiritual appeal that a fine motif makes to everyone. 
This union between the envelope emotion, or mood, and the inward 
emotion either suggested by or resident in a well-chosen motif, 
marks the threshold from which students of art can enter as friends 
into the homes that genius makes for itself in work achieved. 
Already I have spoken about Brangwyn's painting of The Cruci- 
fixion (p. 1 6). Let us take it again as an example, for the same 
tremendous epic is repeated, with variations, by an etching (No. 196) 
and several large drawings. 

The subject here has an enthralling inward emotion felt by all true 
Christians, felt in a way so very similar that we may speak of it as 
the same vvay. Great reverence and wondrous awe, with terror and 
humbled pity, dwell in the emotion that reigns within the Calvary 
of our Faith. But moods of many varied sorts can and do envelop 

A few artists have lived to enjoy a fifth period— the one of virile old age, when to the 
concentration of middle life a happy and strong mind adds many youthful memories. Ce 
retour au birceau, as the French call it, inspired all the most personal work done by 
roussin (1594-1665). 


this emotion, just as mists of differing tints hang from day to day 
around the same wild sinister gorge in the darkling hills at sunset. 
My own mood is a fear that Man, cursed by his ill-used brain, is for 
ever as great a foe to himself as he was to the Highest that put 
divine trust in him. During this mood the Calvary of our Faith is 
the place where Christianity sets and dawns with the day's light, 
always to find among men the same lust of cruel self-will in the same 
blind confidence. From day to day Golgotha is mankind self- 
crucified amid the eternity of forgiveness that is Christ. 
But an emotion made up of awe, reverence, humbled pity and terror, 
with a just and terrible fear of our common human nature, will evoke 
from every artist a different mood, or veil of sentiment. In Brang- 
wyn's austere vision, with its strangely rustic fervour, its abrupt 
nobleness, the mood emotion comes from that ineffable contrast 
between the invaded gentleness of Christ and the coarse strife of 
humanity personified by one of the two malefactors. Here the 
poetry is a dramatizing realism, rough-hewn, stormful, vehement, 
but as reverent as Rembrandt's divine homespun, and almost as con- 
temporary with the awful drama as a soldier is with the deafening 
bombardment around him, that produces in a few hours a thousand- 
fold hell. 

If Brangwyn had painted an idealist dream of The Crucifixion, he 
would not have transferred the two thieves from the Gospels to his 
picture, his etching and his drawings; but his mood is true and noble. 
The only idealism in the Gospel stories of The Crucifixion is the 
reserve shown by St. John when Jesus bows His head and gives up 
the ghost. Matthew, Mark, and Luke have no reserve ; they cause 
Nature, or the Divinity active in Nature, to rebel against the second 
great fall of human reason, which ought always to recover from Christ 
the Paradise lost in Eden. Brangwyn's tragedian vision could have 
been still more realistic without equalling the care with which three 
of the Gospels speak of the sudden earthquake and reveal among the 
onlookers a cold curiosity mingled with depraved mocking and satire. 
As for Brangwyn's etching of The Crucifixion, it is more insistent 
than his oil painting, and more so than his coloured drawings are, 
as black and white give a somewhat dogmatic force or blow to im- 
passioned realism ; and I confess to being worried a little by the 
workman on the ladder and by the faces of two onlookers, though 
I understand that this etching, like Rembrandt's broad and rapi'd 
"Three Crosses," otherwise known as "Christ Crucified between 



w * \T ; '>w n 'im-f K ryrgssifX ipm w a i « «> * i mi» 



Two Thieves," must be viewed synthetically, as a whole, and not bit 
by bit. The great aquaduct in the background is well placed and 
finely symbolic, since an aquaduct is a bridge that conveys water to 
the thirsty, and since the ancient Roman power lingers on still in 
timeworn aquaducts and bridges. 

For the rest, this etching, like the oil-painting or the chalk drawings, 
is as original as honour and reverence in art can be. It is not a 
translation from the Italian Old Masters, nor a dream-tragedy from 
a dateless period, nor is it surrounded by the time fashions of our 
Saviour's brief stay on earth. The whole tragedy is contemporaneous 
with ourselves, like Christianity ; and thus we cannot help thinking 
of Rembrandt, who reveals the story of Jesus among the good Dutch, 
and thinks always of Jesus as the Son of Man among humble and 
common lives. 

This attitude of faith is not understood by a great many persons. 
Even Hamerton, in his well-known essay on Rembrandt's etchings, 
stands outside it here and there as a note-taker, instead of penetrating 
into the hidden essence and the life of the most humane artist that 
our world has been privileged to see. "When the voice is silenced," 
Hamerton says, "a pathetic little group bears the body, tortured no 
longer, to its resting-place. This scene is represented in a little 
etching, 'Christ's Body carried to the Tomb,' in which the simple- 
hearted, affectionate followers are unconscious that theirs is the 
grandest funeral procession of all time." This last idea shows how 
far off Hamerton is now and then from Rembrandt's scriptural art. 
"The grandest funeral procession of all time!" Could any idea be 
less likely to find a home in Rembrandt's imagination ? His great 
heart seems to carry in it all the sorrow known to mankind, and his 
small etching of The Entombment had a very simple and beautiful 
origin. Once a year the humble were called upon to imagine the 
burial of Christ and to feel, by an effort of imaginative faith and love, 
its awe and mystery ; and Rembrandt, deeply moved by this act of 
commemorative devotion, tried to show, in a rapid sketch on copper, 
how the poor of his own day were present once a year in the garden 
where Jesus was laid in a new sepulchre hewn out of a rock. 
Rembrandt's heaven-worthiness, wondrously rustic and homeful, with 
its original attitude towards the Gospel story, has been a stimulus to 
a good many modern artists, ranging from Millet's "Flight into 
Egypt" to Legros' "Prodigal Son" and Fritz von Uhde's pictures; 
and many will remember a most winsome and poetical painting by 


Maurice Denis, "Notre Dame deTEcole." But it is Brangwyn who 
has given the most ample body and purpose to the Rembrandt mood 
and idea. His etching of The Nativity ought to maice friends 
everyw^here, but I have no doubt that his conception of The Cruci- 
fixion v^^ill continue to make foes as w^ell as friends; custom and 
convention rule over most lives, and Brangw^yn has gone home to his 
purpose with a hush of his own and a candour far off from conven- 
tional religion. 

Have we another artist who could transfuse from the four gospels a 
synoptic vision of the Crucifixion as searchingly deep in mood or as 
rich in technical inspiration as Brangwyn's oil-painting, with its 
studies and the etching? 

By "technical inspiration" I wish to denote three things: (a) all 
emotion within and around a motif; (b) the manner and the mood in 
which a motif is viewed and felt and conceived ; and (c) the skill 
with which an artist's handiwork adapts itself to its high office — the 
realization of things felt and seen naith passion by an esthetic mind. 
Let me repeat, we must never part the magician called technique 
trom the other magicians named emotion, imagination, mood, and 

W^^^Q^^^'' FETCH! 


conception. As well try to divorce words from the ideas and the 
poetry that words make real in prose and verse. 

In English art, above all, we must watch the technique, for the 
English hand in art has blundered more often than the English heart 
and head: except in Sir Joshua Reynolds among several others of 
younger time who had a truer and a richer feeling for the suscepti- 
bilities of paint than for gifts of the spirit in "historical painting," 
to use an old phrase. Manipulation, not imagination, is Reynolds's 
main quality. But as often as not, and perhaps more often than not, 
our English failing has been this: that clever eyes and able minds 
have had fumbling allies in hands imperfectly trained. 
In Victorian days, for this reason mainly, England got rid of many 
native schools and styles by sending her boys and girls abroad, there 
to learn how to draw and paint with continental ease, and in methods 
as inconstant as our English climate. So tentative have some of 
these imported methods become that our super-modernists, finding 
themselves alone and lonely with their mutual admiration, have to 
seek consolation from a fugitive disrespect for good workmanship. 
Examples: "Wc have become much less interested in skill, and not 
at all interested in knowledge." "We are intensely conscious of the 
esthetic unity of the work of art, but singularly naive and simple 
as regards other considerations." Is it possible for any mind to be 
self-conscious towards a fashion in art, and yet naive and simple to- 
wards many elements which geniuses for thousands of years have 
deemed essential to good design, but which extreme modernists delete 
from their artistic equipment? Devotees of the newest innovation 
are proud because they "are entering a sphere more and more remote 
from the sphere of ordinary men" ; they wish to be alone and lonely, 
believmg that the number of people to whom art appeals should be- 
come less in proportion as art becomes "pure." Let us remember 
always that every microscopic sect likes to regard itself as the 
world's judge and jury. 

Brangwyn smiles at the cockiness that yearns to make art so "pure" 
that only small groups of sectaries can imagine themselves "pure" 
enough to live near their workmanship. Is it not the mark of 
humble good sense to doubt the little men of a day who in a few 
months have discovered "a pure art" by which assthetic minds are 
cut off from "evil old influences"? Brangwyn's ambition is to play 
his part in the lineage of artists, just as he plays his part in the lineage 
of his family or in his country's birthright traditions. Is he not 


right? What good can be done by trying to separate any phase of 
good workmanship from our national life? I cannot accept many of 
the obiter scripta that the super-modernists noise abroad with con- 
fidence, as in the following quotation: — 

"In proportion as art becomes pure the number of people to whom it appeals 
grows less. It cuts out all the romantic overtones of life which are the usual 
bait by which the work of art induces the ordinary man to accept it.* It 
appeals only to the aesthetic sensibility. . . . In the modern movemeiit In 
art, then, as in so many cases in past history, the revolution in art seems to 
be out of all proportion to any corresponding change in life as a whole." 

This ferment of futile 
words comes naturally 
from excessive zeal, but 
yet it does harm, causing 
a great many persons 
to sneer at embryonic 
research. What sectaries 
need is humour: never 
do they laugh at them- 
selves and at one another: 
and they are always apt 
to see in every crust a 
permanent loaf ot bread. 
They forget to think, 
and often they are be- 
wildered by very simple 
historic truth, such as 
the usual want of much 
detailedlikeness between 
art and life, even in 
epochs when precise representation was an accepted principle in 
some sense or other with every school ot aesthetics. 
To use other words, the modesty of true genius held up its mirror to 
Nature, but emotion and imagination added many precious elements 
to this modesty; and while the general character of lile was roughed 
together by millions of people always more or less at odds as rivals 
or competitors, the general character of art was an amalgam com- 

♦ Note the silly misuse of the words "bait." "cuts out," "induces," etc., as if Art were 
a woman who ensnared the poor ordinary man by offering baits. Art is good and great 
workmanship, except to writers on art who are barristers also and mainly. 







posed by only a few rare men, each with moods of his own and a 
technical inspiration of his own. Hence art and life could not re- 
flect each other closely enough to be very like each other. Allied 
and akin they were always, and essential to each other, but different 
always and inevitably, as they are now. Indeed, true art is for ever 
nobler than lite; even the follies and grave sins that men put into 
her, from age to age, are better than the sins and follies which all 
types of society keep from age to age. 

In Brangwyn's technical inspiration, as a rule, there is instantaneous 
union between the governing emotion, whatever it may be, and its 
embodiment by swift and copious technique. Our country has had 
no painter more genuinely a painter, for F. B. paints in all materials — 
pastel, etching, lithography, charcoal, chalk. Seldom does he draw 
a line which has not the quality of a painted stroke informed with 
his inborn dislike for linear assertion. There is some danger here, 
ot course, a passion for linear probity being a fine discipline. In his 
best work he knows when to stop; and often he stops at a point 
which a great many onlookers find "unfinished," or "too sketchy." 
Many a painter would have tried to put some mellowing revision 
into a swift revelation of Christ's martyrdom; but inspiration is a 
wayward guest, and Brangwyn knows that mellowing revision is too 
often a vile thing when it is done by after-thought from the criticism 
of cold blood. 

My dear old master. Professor Legros, a few years before his death, 
painted, one enchanted day, a sketch of The Flight into Egypt, over- 
flowing with twilight mystery and hinted loveliness ; but afterwards 
in cold blood he tried to improve his vision and its ethos, and the critic 
in his mind ruined what his genius had revealed. Murder in good 
work begins when an artist knows not where to break off, when to 
let well alone. Brangwyn's work recalls to my mind frequently the 
rapid William Miiller, who in a sitting, out of doors, painted a large 
picture, then wrote behind his canvas: "Left for some fool to finish." 
But this wisdom can be overdone ; it has limits forgotten sometimes 
by Brangwyn and very often by some other modernists. Henri 
Matisse, for example, unless I do him injustice, has overstrained the 
good sense which never pours an icy " finish " over the glow and 
passion of inspired hours and days. We have to accept from him, 
with a charity that matures, much that is embryonic. Is there 
no resemblance between some of his work and the awkward pathetic 
softness of unfledged birds in a nest .? 

^ 33 

After all, art is the silver dish into which genius puts golden fruit ; 
and when useful innovators put silver and copper fruit into art's silver 
dish, let us remember that the golden can be added by after-comers. 
What I like most in Brangwyn is that although his abounding style 
at its best is usually vehement and always his own, and therefore likely 
to offend like all things outside and above custom, its improvisations 
are whole in their moods and coherent in their technical inspiration. 
Mistakes do appear in them, of course, and we shall try to look at 
them truly, as offshoots of a prolific growth ; but the main point here 
is that Brangwyn's versatility, not less often than not, has the rarest 
mark of true greatness; an emotion without breaks or gaps, that flows 
through opulent handiwork from end to end of much busy space. 
To try to do overmuch is either to spoil much that was worth doing, 
or to do nothing with much ado; and to leave off too soon is to make 
too many calls on the kindness of those onlookers whose imagina- 
tions are able to grow great art from embrvo efforts. It is only from 
time to time that Brangwyn has ruined his technical inspiration by 
doing overmuch, or by stopping too soon, like a runner before he 
has reached the tape. And I speak, of course, not of the oddment 
industry that is common in the lives of all very swift artists, but 
of the work into which he has put his whole nature. Brangwyn 
is Brangwyn when he is at his best. 


Let us move on now into some thoughts on 
the periods of emotion through which an 
uncommonly vigorous and versatile style has 
come down to its middle-age. Brangwyn 
is fifty-one, and his hand has been busy with 
pencils and brushes and colours from early 
childhood. Long before he had reached his 
teens and velveteens, when, as a very small 
boy, he lived with his parents in sleepy 
Bruges, his birthplace, he knew what he 
wished his life to be and how he would 
shape it if he got a fair chance. Yet he 
was not precocious; for he took to art as 
ducklings take to the water, or as young 
birds fly from their nests. 


I . The Period of Primitive Emotion. 

In one sense Brangwyn has never outgrown this period because he 
has never outgrown his instinctive zest and zeal and aptness. There 
are hours when he talks so well that master after master from other 
days seems to be whispering into his mind, just as the ages past seem 
to whisper to bees when a honeycomb is being waxed into its archi- 
tectural routine ; and so much at odds with conscious labour is the 
instinctive guidance under which he works at his best that his large 
canvases ought always to be laid in by pupils from his cartoons and 
sketches, and all research in history and archeology should be done 
for him in "briefs" by "devils." No kinsman of Rubens has a 
right to dull his instinct by wasting his nerve power on preliminary 
toil and fatigue. As well employ delicate race-horses to scramble 
field-guns into action over cratered battlefields. How can an artist 
meditate, how can he put enough mind into his work if he wastes 
physical energy ? * 

The young period of primitive emotion in Brangwyn's work is the 
period of his apprenticeship ; it ranges from his earliest efforts at 
Bruges to his rather haphazard, though very useful, studies under 
Mackmurdo and William Morris, and thence to the first sea change 
that his mind suffered in bluff experiences near our eastern and 
southern coasts. He worked for Morris from about 1882 to 1884, 
and in 1885, after a trip in a coasting vessel, he sent to the R.A. 
"A Bit on the Esk, near Whitby." 

Roughly stated, then, the period of primitive emotion ranges from 
the age of five to seventeen or eighteen. 

I wish it had been Brangwyn's happy lot in this period, as it was the 
happy lot of Degas in a period as important, to meet an artist of the 
type of Ingres, a great and sympathetic draughtsman who united to 
classic feeling an alert homeliness, always eager to be at ease in the 
V- characters of men and women and children. Ingres died in 1867, 

leaving no French successor, but Portaels in Brussels was a great 
host towards his pupils, as I know from personal observation. 
Portaels would have been an excellent master to curb with gruff 
gentleness the enthusiasm of young Brangwyn, enticing him towards 
those qualities which were dormant in his genius, just as a good 
singing master tries with a coaxing patience to develop in a pupil's 

* Let us remember how the genius of Baudry was enfeebled by the huge decorations 
done without help for the Paris Opera House. One day Baudry said to Jules Breton : 
" You cannot guess how I use up my physical strength." 


voice any note that is weak. Some think that Legros would have 
been a good teacher for the lad Brangwyn. On this point I am 
doubtful. Master and pupil would have been too much alike in 
temperament; the better and richer comradeship comes from sym- 
pathy of contrast between those who teach and those who are eager 
to learn. Affinities blend so easily that an explosive may be formed. 
Portaels described good teaching as divination seasoned with unplea- 
sant truth, and all his pupils had styles unlike his own and unlike one 
another's. He would have kept Brangwyn on the rough highway 
cut out for the boy by the boy's own adventurous gifts, while con- 
vincing him that he would gain, not lose, if he drew for a couple of 
years or so from the nude without worrying about the qualities which 
he desired to get with his facile and stormful brush. . But it was 
Brangwyn's lot to quarry out of hard times an education fit to be his 
guide ; he managed wonderfully, thanks to his great instinct and 
thanks to his unassuming courage. But yet — and the truth must be 
told — he needed such friendship as Couture gave to Manet and as 
Ingres gave to the grateful Degas. His early work in all its many 
phases would have been deeper and richer in purpose and in body if 
fortune had been his friend by bringing to him such a master as gruff, 
generous old Portaels.* 

Instinct, marvellously useful as it is, has many troubles when it begins 
to find its way unaided from its own sphere into more or less conscious 
and painful effort. What is instinct ? I regard it as apt intelligence 
transmuted by heredity into a birthright custom almost as automatic 
as the heart's action. We know not why ordinary men are instinc- 
tive only in stupid irrational ways, genius and talent alone having 
constructive instincts that unite mankind to the building routine of 
birds, bees, ants, and beavers. It was instinct that caused Brangwyn 
to enlist for his affection the great plebeian artists, such as Morland, 
Rowlandson, Millet, and Degroux. The Welsh blood in his veins is 
the ancient Iberian blood, and Wales, with her bleak and windful 
beauty, did not leave poverty for wealth until the modern era of 
coal-mining began. Thrift was born in her people; and in Brang- 
wyn, the man, thrift is always present, just as the poor are always 
present in his charity as an artist. 

* The Portaels Studio was a fine school in the eighteen-eighties, and a finer one still in 
1865, when its figure painters included Cormon, Emile Wauters, Agneessens, Hen- 
nebicq, the brothers Oyens ; its landscapists, Van der Hecht and Verheyden ; and its 
sculptors, Van der Stappen. 













■ Jl 






















If my readers, turning to the volume of 1 910, will consider my 
account of Brangwyn's earliest work, they will understand me when 
I say, in an after reflection, that his free style became adolescent very 
soon and grew a beard when very young. Here is the most remark- 
able fact in the emotion that governed his first period and its technical 
equipment. The boy felt as able men feel: so his manner of work 
had a truly adult glow and force v/hen it was yet as tentative as were 
the efforts of other lads. And this means that the female elements 
of his genius were put aside by the hardships of a tough struggle, 
which would have caused an unmanly boy to trifle with self-pity. 
Since then, too, the female elements in Brangwyn's genius* have 
never been at all alert ; hut, during the period of middle age, they 
may awake, as they do in Legros' etchings, which pass gradually 
from rude manliness towards gracious tenderness. 

2. The Second and Third Periods. 

Periods mingle together, and I know not at which date a struggle 
began between instinct and questioning doubts: between subconscious 
gifts and that consciousness which opened upon life when his mind 
quickened into growth and self-criticism. But the sea, with its 
multifarious magic and its merciless power, made the boy very 
conscious of two disconcerting old truisms : — 

1. That the tools and materials used by painters and draughtsmen 
are feeble things, and act as foes not only between conception and 
execution, but also between students and Nature, forcing so many 
limits on a free use of naturalism that paintings and drawings, when 
compared with Nature's Reality, are Appearance only, sometimes 
inspired with fertile emotions and great ideas. 

2. Hence good workmanship by painters and draughtsmen is as a 
varied dream of things seen, seen imaginatively, within the bounds 
of those changing customs and conventions, by means of which the 
big men have marked, and will continue to mark, their varying atti- 
tude towards Nature and the limits imposed on their handiwork by 
material agents, their tools and materials. Painted sunlight will 
never be sunlight, for example, but we are thankful that Monet 
became a sun-worshipper, like Camille Pissarro. Painted tides can 
never ebb and flow : their cyclonic fury is a mute idler, and their 

* Note the look of womanhood, for instance, that shines out from the manful candour 
and good nature in the face of Rubens ; and note also the glimpse of womanhood in 
Napoleon's modelled cheeks, as in his deft, pliant hands, with their chubby inquisitiveness. 


unrippled gaiety and charm on sweet serene days are a beautiful 
make-believe ; but yet a few Englishmen, and Brangwyn is among 
the number, have salted art as true sailors, with moments and visions 
ot the sea that cause the old Viking element in our national character 
to awake, and we feel that our dear island is too small to be a safe home 
for the wayward and roving high spirits that won her vast Empire. 
From the first Brangwyn's aim was to reveal, in a broad, free manner, 
as near as possible to the movement of water, all that he could suggest 
of the sea's weight, volume, colour, and stupendous power, passing 
over many a detail in the drama of gathering waves : many a detail 
that Turner watched silently for hours, and then noted swiftly with 
a few lines and a wash of water-colour.* Ships delighted him, and 
he loved the bantam-like tugs which with strutting effort brought big 
vessels into harbour, their fog-horns crowing into a mist, and a long 
trail of black smoke blotting the foul weather. His gray marines 
culminated in "The Funeral at Sea," exhibited during the winter of 
1890. In this picture his mood is that of a simple sailor, who, 
sailor-like, is rather shy towards the sentiment which the subject asks 
from him; and his technical inspiration is seamanly in other respects. 
It is bluff and virile, and somewhat hard and taut. For the rest, let 
me refer you to the analysis given in 1910. 

Passing from "The Funeral at Sea" to "The Convict Ship" (1892) 
we find a changed mood and a different spirit in the paint. Pity and 
irony direct the mood, and the colour, graj and Qisolate as the human 
wreckage, has in it so much passion that we know this picture comes 
from the heart. But already the young painter's work has become very 
composite, thanks to foreign travel. He has visited the Dardanelles, 
the Bosphorus, Constantinople, the i^gean, the Sea of Marmora; has 
made trips to Spain, and another to South Africa; and out of these 
and other vagrant studies come "The Slave Traders" of 1892 and 
"The Buccaneers" of 1893.! 

* Turner described how he came to paint "The Snow-storm" — a grand impression of 
a winter storm at sea. " I did not paint it to be understood," he said to the Rev. W. 
Kingsley, whose mother had passed through a similar tempest and was enthralled by 
Turner's picture. " I wished to show what such a scene was like. I got the sailors to 
lash me to the mast to observe it. I was lashed for four hours, and I did not expect to 
escape ; but I telt bound to record it if I did. But no one has any business to like the 
picture. ... Is your mother a painter ? " " No," said the clergyman. " Then she 
ought to have been thinking of something else," answered Turner. 
f Both of these marine moods, the gray and the sumptuously coloured, appeared in 
commissioned work done for Scribners Magazine, and students of Brangwyn should 
collect these good Scribner prints. 




A revolution parts "The Funeral at Sea" from "The Buccaneers." 
Eye and hand, mind and mood, and the motive-power behind and 
in the technique: all alike are astonishingly altered. In the earlier 
picture we feel that England is anchored to the sinister North Sea; 
in the later, that she, the greatest of all sea-rovers, past and present, 
is moored to the East as well, let us hope securely. And yet, so 
irrational is the British character, that we must go to several French 
artists, as to Guillaumet, Delacroix, Dehodencq, Dinet, Regnault, 
Decamps, Ziem, Fromentin, Charles Cottet, when we wish to dis- 
cover the nearest affinities to the Easternism in Brangwyn's earlier 

Eight years ago I said much about the very unusual effect produced 
in Paris by "The Buccaneers," and the picture remains an event. Its 
amazing virility, its wild, fierce dramatization, the tropical frenzy of 
its colour, and the staring heat which seems to leave the world with- 
out air, these are enchanted wild oats, and I wish young men of our 
race would sow them often. Brangwyn got somehow from himself 
a temper akin to that which put the devil into many an old sea-dog 
who cared not for incessant scurvy when he sailed after foes, fame, 
loot, and El Dorado. Cant speaks to-day — cant, a vice detestable — 
as if our forbears were doves and saints; but doves and saints, like 
cant and claptrap, are more likely by far to lose empires than to win 
them among hardships and flocking dangers. Yes, and however 
gentle the manners of mankind may become, the nation that will 
endure longest will be nearest secretly, in her inward self, to Nature's 
unending strife; and so we must not cry out when young artists and 
writers hark back to the primal emotion which enabled Brangwyn 
to paint "The Buccaneers." How Kit Marlowe would have rejoiced 
■over such a picture ! And the world-brain that put so much bar- 
barian terror into the poetry of "King Lear" would not have thought 
"The Buccaneers" too opulently hot and fierce. In a recent etching, 
"The Swineherd," Brangwyn represents another primal emotion, 
almost Calibanesque, as we shall see. 

I am trying to suggest that Brangwyn, after roughing it among 
sailors of the North Sea, added many qualities to his moods and to 
his technical inspirations by roughing it abroad under skies that 
glared and a heat that clasped as with sweating hands. Never will 
you draw near to his earlier adventures in art, nor yet to his etched 
works, unless you feel and see that they are autobiography as well as 
wayward genius. Note, for instance, that although there appears to 


be no restraint at all in " The Buccaneers," yet one great effect of 
penetrating sunlight is left out deliberately because it would have 
turned a narrative picture into a mere fight of pigments against the 
sun, whose heat when very intense appears to look into many things 
as the X-rays do into flesh, making them glow into transparence or 
translucency. Some modernists have taken for their motif this effect 
of ardent sunlight. Brangwyn has never vied in this way against the 
tragic-beneficent heat which keeps life alive on our globe. Such 
daring does not set his genius. In all his work — prints, drawings, 
oil-paintings, water-colours — you will find that he loves weight as 
ardently as Michelangelo loved it, but differently, of course, since 
Michelangelo drew and painted as a masterful sculptor. In his 
weight there is animate marble ; in Brangwyn's, sincere homage paid 
by a manly painter to the many thousands of substances that vast 
winds cannot sweep away and destroy. It shows how light and heavy 
things rest on solid earth always heavier than they.* 
Arid this quality of weight in his technique leads on to a few sum- 
marizing remarks on Brangwyn's attitude towards representation : in 
other words, towards his intercourse with Human Life and Inani- 
mate Nature and the degrees of likeness that the arts gather from 
Inanimate Nature and Human Life. Quite early in his career his 
temperament parted company with two very different principles : 
the principle of detail, to which Ruskin offered so much devotion, 
and the principle of unlimited fresh air, to which Monet paid rever- 
ence before an altar of new technique. Brangwyn has always loved 
in many old masters the use of apt, wise detail, such as Van Eyck 
contrived to store up in thousandfold breadth and modesty; and un- 
usual longsight for years compelled his eyes to pick out details with 
a camera-like tyranny. But his temperament asked for big canvases — 
sometimes even too big — and large brushes, as it has asked for big 
plates, sometimes too big, for his etched work; and details were 
collected with a sweeping touch into plots and large masses. Monet's 
technical appeal moved too much by jerks, and was also too scattered, 
to be of use to a style that struck blows with a bold, full rhythm. 
The difference between Monet's style and Brangwyn's, and therefore 
between two temperaments, is similar to the difference between a 
jerky, intermittent pulse and a great heart's rhythmical systole and 

* Few British painters or draughtsmen have much feeUng for the weight of things. 
Girtin is among the few, so is Rowlandson, so is Raeburn, to take three examples. 
Babies and battleships have about the same weight in the work of too many artists. 



diastole, by which the circulation is kept up with ordered vigour. 
And you will see at once that the pulse of emotion in prints, drawings, 
pictures of all sorts, depends on the systole and disastole of an artist's 
own style. In the presence of a fine Brangwyn, such as " Breaking 
up ' The Duncan,' " to choose one of many etchings, I say to myself: 
" The style has heart enough to run ten miles, and more, without 
getting a stitch in its side." But a style of this sort, mark well, is 
sure to be somewhat of a tyrant ; it makes rules of its own and en- 
forces them, and sometimes gets itself into scrapes. It never coaxes, 
but goes its own way in its own great stride, causing many onlookers 
not only to lose their breath, but also to feel cross, and sometimes 
justly so.* 

Though Brangwyn takes from Human Life and Inanimate Nature 
no more than he can use with fluent ease and insistent breadth, he 
never talks about the whys and wherefores; and only in occasional 
mishaps has he violated natural forms, though never in a manner far- 
sought and dear-bought. Not once has he been like certain recent 
modernists, who declare that they rediscover in fumbled anatomy, 
puffy and embryonic, the principle of structural design and harmony, 
displacing "the criterion of conformity to appearance" and re-estab- 
lishing "pure aesthetic criteria." Are there any limits to the irony 
of self-praise .? 

There is pathos in any ugliness that the hazards of heredity and life's 
hardships give to women and men; but even this inevitable over- 
throw of the human body's noble shape can be exhibited too often 
within the charities of art. What need is there, then, for any 
modernist to go back with pride to such deformities as come from 
ignorance of hand into the craftmanship of savages.? Such ;«/jcon- 
formity to appearance has often noble hints of greatness, yet it can 
never be in educated art anything more than a make-believe barbarity. 
Still, the only things to be feared and hated as foes to art are lethargic 
temperaments, those rearward spirits that pursue no aim intrepidly, 
but view with blinking eyes all daring, and slink with creeping feet 
into the boudoir of timid compromise. 

But for all that, no doubt, history suggests to all modernists that a 
noble sense of personal worth is an aesthetic emotion and a necessary 

Mr. A. Glutton Brock says : "Beauty to most people consists, not in design, but in 
what they call 'style'; and style changes as quickly as fashion in dress." Let me say, 
then, that I use the word "style" to denete all the invariable tokens of Brangwyn's 
presence in his handiwork. 


element of greatness. Could a Matisse lose anything worth keeping 
if he claimed from the Greek sculptors his right to inherit enough 
modest respect for nobleness of matured form? Surely all embryonic 
art, however promising, comes within Bacon's verdict : "As the births 
of living creatures at first are ill-shapen, so are all innovations, which 
are the births of time." 

And it is right here to dwell on these matters. They unite us to our 
own times, and Brangwyn's career has had errors of judgment: days 
in which our artist has forgotten, or has seemed to forget, that the 
world is a hostess who closes her doors on those who ask overmuch 
from her amenity. These errors are akin to the lees and dregs of 
good wine that matures; but if I failed to point them out, not once 
but several times in my chapters, I should have to brace myself to 
encounter the charge of being a censor, and so unwilling to pass for 
press any known fact harmful to a big man in office. How could 
art exist if there were no moods and ambitions to make mistakes as 
well as masterpieces? 

In the etchings, to which we move on now, we shall find frequent 
changes of mood and of technical inspiration. Eight years ago I gave 
a discursive chapter to some of the earlier proofs; since then a large 
series has been printed, and now it is a duty to reconsider the 
whole output as completely as I can. To me it seems probable that 
Brangwyn will pass away soon from his etched work, because he 
has got from this phase of his art, with the help of very thoughtful 
printing, sometimes tinted, all the fine results that he can hope to 
achieve, without making use of mezzotint, which would suit his 
vivid style as a great chiaroscurist. 



lopular fallacies are never easy to 
[kill ; they collect and retain so 
much crude human nature that 
many find their home from age 
^to age in the least vulnerable of 
our mortal foes — The Average Mind. Now and then, by rare good 
fortune, one of them may be driven into exile, like a naughty prince 
banished by democrats ; but a coaxing gray mare among fondled 
fallacies, such as the belief that feeble men can summon peace 
perpetual into a world always at strife, is likely to be as attractive 
to the Average Mind as artificial lights are to moths. 
Fallacies have gathered about the art of etching as about everything 
else, and writers and talkers pay homage to those that they like best. 
I dare not guess that these are delicate fallacies, mere consumptives 
that live in the open air without renewing their strength ; so I cannot 
imagine that any words of mine will make some of them less bewitching 
to their supporters. But yet, as W. E. Henley told me in my boyhood, 
a full keen blow should be struck for a good cause by all written work, 
and the good cause here is to attack those who fondle fallacy. 
Brangwyn has not been a friend to many a fallacy which etchers must 
either accept or reject ; and his opposition has been made public, 
as a rule, not by word of mouth nor in writing, but by his prints. 
Day after day, then, he has put himself into a hornets' nest, or what 
the Scottish call a bike of bees. To be stung every now and then 
is good sport. Does anyone wish to be stung year by year a great 
many times, always around the same places, and always by the same 
bees or hornets ? I don't. Do you ? So many return visits from 
the same irritations must be bad for all skins, whether thick or thin; 
it puts patience out of mind; and for this reason I have been asked 
to say a few words on some frequent stings thrust into Brangwyn by 
a good many lovers of fallacy. 

Let us choose the most important, and then treat them with dismal 
fervour as if they were precious things to be studied for a competi- 
tive examination and a scholarship. 


I . That Very Big Plates are An Offence in 'Etching ; hence the Brangwyn 
Prints are generally much Too Large. 

Do connoisseurs of etching employ foot rules and inch maxims? 
Perhaps they say among themselves: "This print is 9J inches by 6 
inches. August and a masterpiece ! It is the size Vandyck loved. 
Yes, but this other print — 'Building a Ship' — is 35^ inches by . . . .'' 
Heaven above! The width really is 273: inches! Not to speak of 
the wide margins! Are we to buy new and giant portfolios? Nonsense! 
Are we to order new print-cases ? Rubbish ! Must we sell our oil- 
pictures to make room for etchings of this wicked size ? We should 

be cut by the R.A and by other societies also. Our lives 

wouldn't be worth living. Oh ! Let us be wary. How the deuce 
are print-sellers to handle these elephantine etchings? Two or three 
boys, dressed as pages, could move them from place to place in a 
shop, just as the trains of royal dresses are carried out of reach of 
feet at a court ceremony. Come, come ! Let us stand up for the 
print-sellers. What they need, let us believe, are little gems, dainty 
and exquisite prints; just a few square inches each, you know; easy 
to carry . . . and as easy to hide out of sight when our wives want 
costly new gowns instead of ideal small prints, true art in essence. 
It's the very dickens to get even a biggish print home when milliners 
and things are in the air. But these Brangwyns! Jove! Etched 
wallpapers done by machine might be easier to get home discreetly, 
without a bother. Collecting isn't easy! " 

If connoisseurs of etching do speak in this way among themselves, 
they say nothing about real woes when they put their sighs and 
groans into print. If they said that Brangwyn is too fond of huge 
plates I should venture to agree with them : but their argument 
is that Brangwyn offends against necessary traditions which good 
etchers have gained from the genius of their craft. This assertion 
has a bold air and sound. Is it a fact, or is it an ^'obiter dictum, a 
gratuitous opinion, an individual impertinence, which, whether right 
or wrong, bindeth none — not even the lips that utter it"? Suppose 
we take a few glances into the history of etching. 
The earliest etchings were small — not because artists had a dislike 
for magnitude, but — because a great many hitches and scrapes had 
to be eased one by one in the elementary technique of a new and 
incalculable handicraft. Copper-plate engraving may be a German 
invention, as the Florentine Maso Finiguerra did not get first into 
the field, about the middle of the fifteenth century, as Vasari believed 


and wrote. The etched Hne on copper — that is, the eaten line, or 
line eaten into copper by acid — is of later date, and a rival of the 
furrowed line ploughed into copper by a strong, sharp burin. Its 
discovery has an uncertain date, but it is attributed sometimes to a 
great Italian, Parmigiano, who lived from 1504 to 1540. 
Rolling presses for printing the copperplates are said to have been 
invented about five years after Parmigiano's death ; and one of the 
mesmeric masters of great art, Andrea Mantegna (who died in 
1506, at the age of seventy-five), declined to be enslaved by small 
engravings. He put his mind into some pretty large prints, highly 
studied and full of figures ; and with oblique hatchings he added 
shadows to the main lines, feeling an testhetic need similar to that 
which now causes an illustrator to flow a wash over his indelible 
penwork. Line-and-shade etching is a kincraft to Mantegna's en- 
graving, and helps to keep us in mind of the fact that men of mark 
get many a rule and law from their own gifts, and refuse to be shut 
up in maxims and methods that irk their just freedom. 
Small etchings were inevitably right when large copper plates, 
hammered out by hand to an even thickness all ov^er, were not easy 


to get, and when the technique of a very tricky new craft had to 
gather from blunders its traditions and recipes, such as Abraham 
Bosse in 1645 noted in his treatise. Small etchings, too, as a rule, 
have ever been right for book illustration, and also for men who, 
like Ostade, Whistler, Claude, and the great uncanny Meryon,* have 
discovered that a big spread of copper would dethrone their genius. 
Whistler got as much joy from being short in etching as he got 
from being long and sharp in the gentle art of making foes with his 
written wit ; and since his airy, butterfly touch could no more find its 
way over a large copper plate (without making a mess), than his 
dapper little feet and legs could have run a ten-mile race (without a 
start of five or six miles), he wished to endow all etchers with the 
axiom that small fine prints were the only deeds of grace fit to offer 
to their handicraft.* But this vanity is forgiven when we see how 
elusive is the winsome self-control that Whistler treasured up in his 
finer or finest etchings. A spirit like that of Gothic tracery seen 
by twilight, dwells in some of his airy lightness ; but we need only 
one Whistler and one Meryon, just as we need only one Brangwyn. 
The really unique in etching, as in other arts, founds no school; a 
manipulation fit to inspire safe emulation, as in Vandyke's portrait 
etching, has a certain general friendliness like that of Nature's 
pleasing moods and aspects, which everyone can accept as equally 
good for everyone else. 

Rembrandt has a great many small prints among the 260 etchings in 
his authentic output ; but no sooner does he bring his humane realism 
and his heavenworthiness into communion with the Scriptures, than 
he begins to feel at times the need of ampler plates; and he wrestles 
with lofty ideas on his larger fields of copper as Jacob wrestled with 
a Celestial One near the bank of a river flowing between him and 
his father's home. Yes, Rembrandt seems to etch with his soul on 
man's heart; and in his magnitude there is material size enough in 

* Let me give the measurements of the principal etchings in Meryon's Old Paris views. 
Le Pont-au-Change, 6-1^5 by I^vV; Le Ministere de La Marine, 6-,% by 5,'•^j ; L'Abside 
de Notre-Uame de Paris, 6jV by lly% ; La Morgue, 9,-^ by Sj-q ; Le Pont Neuf, yf,j 
by ~^f; ; La Pompe Notre-Dame, dj^j by lo ; Rue dcs Chantres, 1 l-^g by ^ju ; La Tour 
de I'Horloge, Io-j% by 7-1%; La Galerie de Notre-Dame, II-j'^ by 7; Saint-£tiennt- 
du Mont, 9-,% by 5^% ; La Rue des Mauvais Carious, 5 by ^(\-;; Le Stryge, 6/^ by 
5,V, ; Le Petit Pont, 7/5 by 5-1-'^ ; Tourelle Rue de la Tixeranderie, 9,"^ by Srui ^.uo 
Pirouette i860, 5 by ^I'V; L'Arche du Pont Notre-Dame, 6 by 7j"'jj. 
t In my book, on the early Life and Work of Frank Brangwyn (page 188), I give the 
famous letter written by Whistler to tiie Hoboken Etching Club. Its argument ends 
with the dogmatic statement that " the huge plate is an offence." 


several of his noblest etchings, as in "Christ Healing the Sick," to 
encourage all true artists who know that they are ill at ease and weak 
when small plates cramp their touch and dull their minds.* 
Consider Piranesi, for example, and imagine his tussle when he began 
to measure his gifts against the majestic power in the antiquities of 
Rome. How ludicrous it would have been if he had tried to shut 
up his wit and zeal in a trivial maxim about the beckoning ideal in 
small prints ! Providence had endowed Piranesi with a nature akin 
to the old Roman genius; and with a zest which never tired, the 
good man put his whole nature into the vast ruins which spoke to 
him about ancient builders and architects, until at last he was able 
with his burin and etching-needle to restore a good many monu- 
ments wrecked by time and strife. Years went by, but Piranesi's 
zeal increased, and at last he was aided by all his children and by 
some pupils also. Though he and they used the burin for certain 
broad, trenchant lines, they had greater freedom with the etching- 
needle, and Piranesi must have been entertained by the research and 
alertness that the technique of his ample plates needed from year to 
year. He employed his acids with a most varied tact and skill, and 
i assume that he trusted his eyesight, not a watch or clock, as did 
good craftsmen during the uncertain final process in the making of 
lustre ware. I know not with what mixture he prepared his 
coppers, but a better etching-ground for large plates has never been 
concocted. Piranesi died in 1778, and a longish time afterwards, 
between 1835-37, his son Francesco published at Paris, in twenty- 
nine volumes folio, about two thousand of his big-fisted prints. 
At a first glance it seems to many persons that Piranesi ought to be 
looked upon as Brangwyn's prototype, then it becomes evident that 
"forerunner" is the right word; there's no real likeness between 
them except their kindred joy in hospitable size and abundant vigour. 
Piranesi loved historic facts even more than he loved the transmuta- 
tion of such facts into art His mind was deeply reflective, even 
scientific; and pretty often his passion for mimic texture and detailed 
breadth may be too photographic for present-day eyes. And let us 
remember that Piranesi is not the only etcher of big or biggish plates 
who heralded the Brangwyn style and methods. Girtin's Paris 
Views are not little prints, either in size or style; and Girtin handled 

* It is worth noting also that in Rembrandt's etched portraits there's a great variation 
of size. Compare the exquisite and tiny portrait of Rembrandt's mother. No. I in 
Campbell Dodgson's Catalogue, with the portraits of Jan Uytenbogaert (CD. 100 and 
126) and Jan Six (CD. 185). 


the etching-needle with a fluent ease and beauty when he prepared 
his Views in outline to be aquatinted by J. B. Harraden and F. C. 
Lewis. There is much closer kinship of emotion between Brangwyn 
and Tom Girtin than between Brangwyn and G. B. Piranesi. Girtin 
was loved by Turner, who took hints from Girtin's heroic breadth, 
and who said one day, in a mood of self-depreciation, " Had Tom 
Girtin lived, I should have starved." 

Then there is Seymour Haden, whose output has no rule-of-thumb 
notions about size. True, he never faced a sheet of metal as ample 
as a great many that Brangwyn has tackled, but — and here is the 
main point — his temperament as an etcher was too versatile and too 
virile to make a fetish of small prints. 

And another point is worth noting. The bigger the plate the greater 
is the risk of failure; hence no etcher is at all likely to choose huge 
plates unless he feels that they are often necessary to his technical in- 
spiration. For what other reason would any man of sense add to 
the tricksiness of a craft full of hazard? It is more difficult to 
spread an even ground over large plates, more difficult also to get 
diversified values from the acid bath, without mishaps; and thick 
lines, helpful in woodcuts, are hard to manage on metals, though 
their value under shade and texture is as important to etchings on a 
large scale as were strongly marked forms to the engraved design that 
Mantegna originated. 

Brangwyn has got himself into some hitches and scrapes with the 
thick, insistent lines, but he has used them many times as deftly as 
Turner, when Turner intended to cover them with mezzotint and 
to print with brown ink. Thin lines would have been lost under 
the mezzotint, and brown ink prevented the broad and deep lines from 
losing their plane, or challenging overmuch attention. Brangwyn's 
ink varies, like his thoughtful printing. Usually, when it is dark, 
it has in it enough burnt sienna to mellow the black, and enough 
raw sienna to add a smiling translucency. Some prints have a 
golden tint and some a greeny lustre, and either coloured or toned 
papers are used frequently. Still, there's another side to these matters. 
Devotees of fallacy assert — 

2. That Brangwyn s Etc/ied Work gets too little from Batching and over- 
much from Printing Methods. 

As well say that books well produced owe not enough to their 
manuscripts and overmuch to their printers, binders, papermakers, 



and publishers: for just as a manuscript book is intended to be 
printed, bound and published, so an etched plate is dependent also 
for its completed realisation on the arts of printing and publication. 
Writer and etcher alike, if they wish to do justice to their handi- 
work, are bound to obtain what they need from printers and pub- 
lishers. Whether an etcher trains a printer, as Rubens and Turner 
either trained or helped to train engravers, or does the printino- 
himself, is a matter of no consequence, if the states and impressions 
represent all that he desires to set before the pubhc ; and as for the 
means by which ink and paper are handled for definite and ordered 
purposes, this factor in versatile technique is governed by a true 
artist's purpose, and our part in it is concerned with results alone. 
Some of Brangwyn's results I am unable to like, but a great many 
of their phases are unrivalled, and the management of ink and paper 
m all good impressions enriches what I may call the orchestra of 
lights, shades, values, tones and textures. Print connoisseurs on the 
Continent know how to value the finer Brangwyn etchings. There's 
a complete collection of them at Paris, Rome, Munich, Vienna, as 
well as a great many prints in each of many other public collections. 
At the outset of his etching adventures he bought a printing press, 
and toiled at it fondly, blotted with enough ink and sweat to mark 
him out as an apprentice, though not with enough to make him 
one half so remarkable as that amusing sketch of George Dawe 
in Charles Lamb's Recollections of a Late Royal Academician.'^ 
The more closely you study the wonderful charm and strength that 
Brangwyn has obtained many times by various means as a printer or 
from printing supervised by himself, the more sympathetically you 
will feel and see why he is a master of the most difficult phase 
of etching — the union of line, tone, shade and texture. Pure 

* " My acquaintance with D. was in the outset of his art, when the graving tools, 
rather than the pencil, administered to his humble wants. These implements, as is 
well known, are not the most favourable to the cultivation of that virtue which is 
esteemed next to godliness. He might ' wash his hands in innocency,' and so meta- 
phorically 'approach an altar'; but his material puds were anything hut fit to be 
carried to church. By an ingrained economy in soap — if it was not for pictorial effect 
rather — he would wash (on Sundays) the inner oval, or portrait, as it may be 
termed, of his countenance, leaving the unwashed temples to form a natural black 
frame round the picture, in which a dead white was the predominant colour. This, 
with the addition of green spectacles, made necessary by the impairment which his 
graving labours by day and night (for he was ordinarily at them for sixteen hours out 
of the twenty-four) had brought upon his visual faculties, gave him a singular appear- 
ance, when he took the air abroad ; insomuch that I have seen a crowd of young men 
^nd boys following him along Oxford Street with admiration not without shouts. . . ." 

H 49 

line etching is the simplest phase to a trained hand, and hne with 
shading comes next. Nevertheless, from time to time, without a 
shadow of a doubt, the linear part of etching plays second fiddle to 
F.B.'s printing methods. Then I believe, rightly or wrongly, that 
mezzotint should be the medium. 

3. That Brangwyn as an Etcher vies too much against the qualities of 

Yet it is — or it ought to be — a fact well known that most painters 
who have taken to etching have obtained, wittingly, or unwittingly, 
qualities like those in their pictures. In other words, they etched 
as they painted, like Tiepolo, Ostade, Ruysdael, Paul Potter, Berg- 
hem, Vandyck. In Rembrandt also, as Vosmaer points out, there 
is a marked parallelism between the great wizard's painted and 

-7 7/ ^r;^ ^j^ ^^;t^<'. =v — .^ 



etched work, his early manner in both cases being timidly experi- 
mental, and in both he grows gradually into strength, character, 
passion, and intense fervour. Besides, in all his most important 
etchings Rembrandt is engaged with the same problems of light and 
shade that occupy his attention in oil-painting. The portrait ot 
Jan Six at his window is what we may call a painted etching, so 
complete is the illumination obtained by studious and massed tech- 
nique. Returning to a lesser genius. Whistler, let us note how the 
etchings gravitate towards that low tone and mystery, accompanied 
by an absence of organic design and decorative impact, which belong 
to Whistler's individuality. What is Whistler but a musician who 
employs brushes instead of stringed instruments, and who conceals 
in minor keys his elusive effects in low tone and evasive colour .'' 
But this matter can be summed up briefly. Far too many writers 
on art imply or hint that a versatile man should keep at his beck. 


and call several aesthetic temperaments, and that he should employ 
perhaps a couple in his etchings and several others in his paintings; 
though even Shakespeare has but one aesthetic temperament, hence 
the Shakespeare style is evident in the speech of all Shakespeare's 
men and v^^omen. For a genius that creates, being active in all the 
things that it creates, must leave the invariable signs and symbols of 
its presence throughout its productions, just as sunlight in all its in- 
finities of changeful effects is alw^ays sunlight. 

Similarly, Brangwyn can no more delete Brangwyn from his etched 
work than he could dismiss from his eyes their brown lustre ; and 
since the Brangwyn style in painting has the qualities that we know, 
and since a passion for decorative design is among these qualities, 
we are certain to find the same qualities in his etchings, and more 
noticeable because their appeal from black-and-white is more definite 
than their harmonisation from a rich palette. 

Bluntly, then, Brangwyn rarely etches for print-cases and portfolios ; 
he etches mainly for rooms, and those prints that represent him most 
completely as a great etcher always look best when they are hung up 
as pictures, or, preferably, when they are put within moulded wood 
frames forming part of a panelled wall. The custom of suspending 
pictures against a wall is one to be thrust aside as often as possible. 
Suspended frames not only collect a great deal of dust, which is dis- 
lodged by fresh air from open windows ; they separate pictures from 
walls, walls from pictures, though painters and architects should 
have a common aim when they work for our home life. Art began 
to sink into a luxury as soon as painters began to drift from mural 
painting and decorative painting into easel pictures, done at random 
for persons and rooms unknown. Even the lighting of most rooms 
receives little attention from most painters, with the result that it is 
more by good luck than wise management when oil-paintings can be 
seen to advantage away from studios, exhibitions, and public galleries. 
Water-colours look well in all rooms, however curtained the light 
may be ; and this remark applies also to etchings, and above all to 
those that have a scale large enough to be in keeping with our rooms 
and furniture. 
Next we are told: — 

4. That too fnaiiy Brangwyn Etchings are Melodramatic. 

Ah! What's the meaning of melodramatic? Is the last scene of 
"Hamlet" melodramatic, or is it high tragedy? 


The word melodrama used to mean a variety ot drama having a 
musical accompaniment to complete the effect of certain scenes, as 
in the songs written by Shakespeare for "Twelfth Night," or as in 
the union of Mendelssohn's music with the "Midsummer-Night's 
Dream." In opera, again, melodrama is a scene in which an 
orchestra plays a rather descriptive accompaniment while an actor 
speaks. But many words are depraved by un;tsthetic periods. To- 
day, in current talk, melodramatic is a tenn to give offence, as it 
denotes false sentiment and overstrained effects. 

I should be insolent if I commented on this decadent meaning in its 
alleged relation to my subject, since candour — sometimes accompanied 
by haste — is an invariable mark of Brangwyn's energetic manliness. 
It is a pity some act of public penance cannot be claimed from those 
who try to defame any big man who happens to be at odds with 
their temperaments or their whims and prejudices.* That they do 
no harm to art as art is evident, of course, but they keep in circula- 
tion a great many fallacies hurtful to that general influence which art 

* When I began this book, at the end of December, 1917. I wrote to one of our lead- 
ing officials in the art world, a public servant, asking for his help in certain ways. My 
letter has not yet been acknowledged. I guessed that his own print collecting along 
certain classic lines might make him reluctant to answer my questions ; but if I had 
written the same letter to any Continental official of public art, I should have received 
an answer at once, as I know from long experience that the official Continental attitude 
towards known styles and schools is impersonal when the purjxjse of a book is public 
service, akin to that done by popular galleries, print-rooms, and libraries. 


ought to have when a nation is reputed to be enlightened, and when 
she invests year after year about twenty-seven millions of pounds in 
compulsory education alone. 

Even sound views and opinions often ruin a mind that borrows too 
many, for men have no great wish to plod into thought if they get 
without thinking the wisdom that they wish to show off. 

5. That the Brangwyn 'Etchings lack Ideality^ being too 'wrapped up 
within the Spirit of our Age. 

Ideality ? This word sends us back to the Victorians, a great many 
of whom, in their eagerness to progress, borrowed or filched a great 
many, too many pregnant facts, fine ideas, big schemes, acute ob- 
servations, and other collected treasures, turning their brains into 
classic books while helping to muddle their country's present and 
future. They seemed to live and move between quotation marks. 
To-day a different peril makes much ado. Enthusiasts of the Victorian 
breed are uncommon ; whether we seek for them in art, in letters, 
in science, in politics, or in economics. There is not much like 
Ruskin's fervour, nor much like the juvenile zeal that showed itself 
at first in reading clubs and literary societies; there is nothing at all 
like the economic and cocksure politics that reverenced Bentham, 
Mill and Co. as apostles in the cause of everlasting progress ; and 
who can fail to see in most current affairs that public life is relaxed, 
unstarched, a vagrant in the midst of detached views, opinions, fads, 
illusions, fallacies, with so many phases of cant that they might have 
a Whitaker's Almanack,entirely their own ? Even science has lowered 
her battle flags; no longer is she the Boadicea whom Huxley fought 
for with such gallant dogmatism. It is now her conviction, as it 
has long been the belief of most artists, that Man is not a rational 
creature, but in the main instinctive, like other animate wonders in 
God's illimitable and eternal mystery. The only public cocksureness 
comes from those whose moods are the moods of headlines, and who 
need newspapers by the thousand to keep their minds well stored 
with cant and confusion. To advocate in war several principles 
which would break up our empire if they were applied at the Peace 
Conference is one example of the cocksureness that confusion begets. 
To separate art from the people, and to boast over this folly, is 
another example. 

Brangwyn stands apart from all this laxity, an observant critic ; and 
if you study with unbiassed attention — that is, with judgment, can- 

dour, and fairness — his forthright handiwork at its best, as in his 
richer and finer etchings, you will see that its yearly sequence, with- 
out any loss of spirited and inspiriting energy, has grown stronger 
in those qualities which have become rare in our public life : swift 
decision, sincerity of purpose, impassioned self-help, and a sympathy 
without fawning and cant for those who are handworkers. I do 
not mean that Brangwyn makes his appeal as a political democrat. 
Genius sees too much and knows too much ever to believe sincerely 
that millions of votes from minor minds can rule without doing 
serious harm over the few thousands who are fitted by uncommon 
gifts to govern wisely. 

But fact and truth belong to the essence of statecraft, and Brangwyn's 
work has gained so much fi-om our industrial enterprise that it is 
observant statesmanship as well as powerful art. 


I do not mention by name the writers who are hostile to Brangwyn's 
etchings; with one exception, it is not worth while. They are 
journalists who pass judgment on any art that comes before them in 
an exhibition. But the exception is a specialist, a writer on prints, 
old prints and new, and a specialist ought to value discretion. I 
refer to Sir Frederick Wedmore, who has gone out of his way, in a 
book on old prints mainly, and in a note, added to a new edition, to 
make a temperamental attack on Brangwyn (Fine Prints, New and 
Enlarged Edition, 1910, Appendix, page 247). 

Sir Frederick is a good judge when prints are dainty; and his judg- 
ment is often wideawake towards those technical inspirations that 
merit the epithets "exquisite" and "subtle." On the other hand, 
he is likely to be ill at ease in the presence of energetic manliness. 
He cannot speak of Vandyke's etched portraiture without saying 
that "the touch of Vandyke has nothing that is comparable with 
Rembrandt's subtlety, yet is it decisive and immediate, and so far 
excellent." Veritable connoisseur! Sir Frederick Wedmore should 
feel in himself why the virile structure and charm of Vandyke's 
etched portraits are persuasively alive with insight, and sympathy, 
and a style that responds to each sitter's gifts of the spirit. He 
admits, indeed, for thousands of great judges have said so, that 
Vandyke "seized firmly and nobly in his etched portraits of men the 
masculine character and the marked individuality of his models"; 


but complains that "practically his etchings are only portraits of 
men." Only portraits of men! And why should a connoisseur 
employ the futile word "practically" like a hurried journalist? Is 
"The Reed Offered to Christ" a Vandyke etching to be forgotten? 
Is it "practically" of no importance? No discreet judge would pit 
Vandyke against Rembrandt or Rembrandt against Vandyke. A 
foreign specialist. Dr. H. W. Singer, has made one of these mistakes, 
as Sir Frederick Wedmore has made the other. Dr. Singer says : 
"We have, on the one hand, Vandyke the portrait painter, an artist 
not without faults and certainly not outstripping Titian, Velasquez, 
Reynolds, and many others that have excelled in the same field. 
Opposed to this, we have Vandyke the etcher, really without a 

rival — I do not consider even Rembrandt a successful one in this 
case — the inventor of a type that has served as the model of all sub- 
sequent days down to our own. . . . Far from misdirecting anyone, 
his creations in this branch of art have served and will serve for ever 
as the brightest examples for all men attempting portraiture in etch- 
ing." Legros had the same conviction, but never set Vandyke and 
Rembrandt to compete against each other. Men of genius are too 
inestimable to be turned by wayward criticism into rivals. 
As Sir Frederick Wedmore is lukewarm to Vandyke's principal etch- 
ings, "o///y portraits of men," what has he to say about Brangwyn's 
modern virility ? Has he tried to live with a Brangwyn etching ? 
His attack is interesting, and original also as indiscretion, for it is 
found in some lines of ardent praise on Mr. E. Carlton! As well 


attack Milton in order to praise 
Herrick, or Turner in order to 
praise Witherington. Sir Fred- 
erick desires that Mr. Carlton's 
etching should be popular: 
" Why is it not already better 
known? Useless question, as 
far as the big public is con- 
cerned, when people go into 
the exhibition and fancy that 
some of the best work is the 
self-assertive work of Mr. 
Brangwyn, that leaps to their 
eyes. The German proverb 
says — or Mr. Robert Browning 
once told me that it said — 

nutmegs ? 
the least 

What has 
people who do 


to do 

a cow to do with 
not understand in 

with the modest, 
and all that lies 

And what have 
the spirit of etching, 
thoughtful little records of harbours, quays, 
upon them — of warehouse, boat and barge — by this dainty, accurate 
draughtsman, Mr. Carlton, who does not want to knock any living 
mortals down — metaphorically speaking — by the work of his needle, 
but to charm them rather, to put on them the spell, wrought on 
those who are worthy to receive it, by the rhythm of intricate line." 
It is easy to pity the living mortals who feel that they may be 
knocked down by the work of a needle; their lot in this rough 
world must be hard and humiliating ; but Sir Frederick Wedmore 
forgets that critics who pride themselves on their delicacy, and who 
yearn always to be consoled with daintiness and the rhythm of 
intricate line, cannot expect to keep their balance when a masterful 
etcher surrounds them with the outside welter of human realities. 
Brangwyn makes no appeal to valetudinarians ; he is to our own 
time what Rubens was to Old Flanders ; and let us remember here 
what Ruskin said about the namby-pamby criticism that spoke with 
contempt of the swaggering, great-hearted Rubens : 
"A man long trained to love the monk's vision of Fra Angelico, 
turns in proud and ineffable disgust from the first work of Rubens, 
which he encounters on his return across the Alps. But is he right 
in his indignation? He has forgotten that, while Angelico prayed 




and wept in his olive shade ^ 
there was different work doing 
in the dank fields of Flanders: 
— wild seas to be banked out ; 
endless canals to be dug, 
and boundless marshes to be 
drained; hard ploughing and 
harrowing of the frosty clay ; 
careful breeding of the stout 
horses and cattle; close set- 
ting of brick walls against 
cold wind and snow; much 
hardening of hands, and gross 
stoutening of bodies in all 
this ; gross jovialities of har- 
vest homes, and Christmas 
feasts, which were to be 
the reward of it ; rough affections, and sluggish imaginations ; 
fleshy, substantial, iron-shod humanities, but humanities still — 
humanities which God had his eye upon, and which won, perhaps, 
here and there, as much favour in His sight as the wasted aspects of 
the whispering monks of Florence (Heaven forbid that it should 
not be so, since the most of us cannot be monks, but must be plough- 
men and reapers still). And are we to suppose there is no nobility 
in Rubens' masculine and universal sympathy with all this, and with 
his large human rendering of it, gentleman though he was by birth, 
and feeling, and education, and place, and, when he chose, lordly in 
conception also? He had his faults — perhaps great and lamentable 
faults — though more those of his time and his country than his 
own ; he has neither cloister-breeding nor boudoir-breeding, and is 
very unfit to paint either in missals or annuals ; but he has an open 
sky and wide-world breeding in him that we may not be offended 
with, fit alike for king's court, knight's camp, or peasant's cottage." 
Here is imaginative sympathy, and Sir Frederick Wedmore will do 
well to apply its apposite principles in a frank and brave study of the 
Brangwyn etchings. Ruskin is not drawn towards Rubens by any 
kinship of temperament; he, too, likes to feel "the spell, wrought 
on those who are worthy to receive it, by the rhythm of intricate 
line"; but good sense warns him that great art is much too wide 
and varied to be embraced by a spell so encloistered. 


Let this obvious fact be remembered as we pass from chapter to 
chapter. Etchings of many sizes will be studied, and we shall learn 
from the spirit of Brangwyn's best art, as we learn from other in- 
vigorating men of genius, that all the world (as Montaigne says) 
must dance in the same brawl towards death,* and also that the great 
who do their best, whether they die young or old, live young for 
ever, and ask the world to be young with them. For Brangwyn, as 
the next chapter will illustrate, sees the vast human drama just as it 
is acted to-dav in the midst of Nature's ming-led cruelties and caresses. 
His vigour cheers — his vigour at his best — just because life claims 
infinite courage, and perfect candour, and as much plain truthfulness 
as artists can reveal. A true optimist goes in search of ugly tacts 
and makes them known as foes to be defeated ; while a false optimist 
slinks from ugly facts into an isle of dreams where he wraps his poor 
weak head with rosy clouds and then prattles cant. In Brangwyn's 
art there is no false optimism, and the true is free from gloom and 
morbid drooping. 

* Montaigne's words: "All the world in death must follow thee. Does not all the 
world dance the same brawl that you do.'' Is there anything that does not grow old as 
well as you.' A thousand men, a thousand animals, and a thousand other creatures die 
at the same instant that you expire. 'No night succeeds the day, no morning rises to 
chase away the dark mists of night, wherein the cries of the mourners are not heard.' " 



arallelism is a thing to be sought 
and ransacked, being very useful 
when we strive to reach the 
best words with which to ex- 
f press what we teel and see in 
the fine arts. A parallel is never close enough as a likeness to 
discover among men of mark a Dromio of Ephesus, and a Dromio 
of Syracuse — a comedy of errors among the good gifts that Provi- 
dence distributes. Always there are differences enough to enrich 
a parallel with variation, even marked affinities and resemblances 
having their own lights, half-tones and shades, their own indi- 
viduality. And we learn quite as much by noting where and 
how a parallel breaks down as by weighing and measuring its 
aptness and its partial fellowship elsewhere. But one thing more 
must be kept conspicuously before the mind: that mates among 
artists, unless they copy from each other, have not, as a rule, a family 
likeness ; it is in the general temper of their work, in their general 
attitude towards life, art, history, and the world, that they match ; 
and thus they are nothing more definite as pairs in the spiritual world 
than great birds of a feather. 

Brangwyn has more than one second self among the big modern 
men, and he has ever been drawn by affinity towards Meunier, 
Millet, and Alphonse Legros; but I am choosing Legros for three 
reasons. The brotherhood is most evident and various ; both artists 
are profuse etchers (Millet's etchings are few); and I studied the 
Legros prints and proofs and states with Legros himself Let us 
choose at once the most memorable phase in their resemblance, keep- 
ing minor points and differences to be pondered afterwards. The 
thing to be considered at once unites this chapter to the final page 
of Chapter II. 


What is the first problem to which boys of genius have to reconcile 
themselves, either wittingly or unwittingly, by instinct or by thought 
and meditation, when they find that they are citizens and patriots as 
well as artists, and that life and the world in a great many ways press 


upon them incessantly from morning until afternoon, and from year's 
end to year's end? It is the deepest of all problems and the most 
perilous; the very problem that brought so much agony of spirit to 
John Henry Newman, that it nearly drove an exalted mind from 
Christianity into pantheism, the doctrine that there is no God but 
the combined forces and laws which are manifested in the existing 
universe. Whenever I think of this problem — and never can it be 
absent from any mind that sees truly and reflects honestlv — I am 
sure that the title that fits it best is as follows: '■'■The Illusion Called 

No illusion can ever be nearer than this one to the most private strife 
in human nature. Even the earliest of all tribesmen, after defeat or 
after famine, earthquake, or searching inundation, must have yearned 
to be at peace; that is, to enjoy freedom from danger with the 
presence of tranquillity and comfort. From the action of strife, 

then, there came a reaction 
ill the human mind felt as 
a desire to have peace — a 
desire felt by hunted animals 
and birds as well as by man- 
kind ; and the law of action 
and reaction being what it 
is, equal and opposite, a 
craving for peace will endure 
on our globe until strife and 
war end. Can they ever end ? 
No. Innumerable phases of 
strife are as permanent as 
illness and hunger and thirst. 
Young artists have to meet 
this fact face to face and as 
bravely as they can. They 
observe far more closely than 
other folk, and feel more 
acutely ; and those of them 
who pass into thought soon 
perceive that cant, humbug, 
claptrap — the cloak of lies 
with which the average mind 
wraps itself for warmth and 

2! W 

D 0, 

o o 

'i ^ 

« - > 
< » 

> U, V 




s z 

comfort — is cowardice turned into a routine by a desire not to see the 
awful varied phases of war that come all the year round from Nature's 
phenomena and from mankind as a part of Nature. How can any 
young artist fail to see that organic life everywhere feeds either on 
organic lives, like hawks on small birds, or on things that live, grow, 
and bring forth small copies of themselves, as corn reappears from seeds 
into flour and bread? Some living thing dies, then suffers a resurrec- 
tion of vitality whenever appeased hunger renews the health of an 
organism. Nourishment, then, like gestation or like birth, belongs to 
the mystery of perennial strife, to the omnipresent genius of million- 
fold war; and what are young artists to think when this awful truth 
stares out upon them from their eye-witnessing? Are they to prattle 
about peace in a world where strife is multitudinous, ranging from 
love's pains in self-sacrifice to dangerous business contests, and ravag- 
ing street accidents,* and fierce brute hunger ? Let us hope that 
they tell no lies to themselves, but continue bravely to discover true 
thought among facts seen, then weighed and measured. 
Both Legros and Brangwyn had to encounter these dread matters in 
the midst of raw privations. Yet they never blenched. Their art 
is a proof that they faced life as good soldiers face battlefields. Both 
were loyal to their colours. Hurting facts, facts full of conflict, 
pain, awe, and mystery, pressed all day long on their sensitiveness; 
and it is worth while to mention a few because they are permanent 
facts, and must needs be pondered by those who have honour enough 
to see frankly. Take the position of women in this world. If 
civilised women were not warriors bred and born from all the ages 
of courage and of pain and woe, how could they bear maternity and 
their lot as mothers? Babies are battles won, then lost far too often, 
since almost a million die in our country, year after year, before they 
are twenty-four months old. How large a part of childhood is 
a campaign against heredity, often against social hindrances, often 
also against gnawing poverty, and always against the physical wars 
fermented by microbes ! Scarcely an hour free from danger comes to 
any child. And when we turn from this fact to the casualties of 
ordinary bread-winning, in trades and professions, in odd jobs, in 
overcrowded tenements and foul slums, we arrive at a great principle 

* Between 1914 and I918 we learnt that street accidents in our country caused a great 
many more casualties — about five times more — that German air raids produced. Yet 
our deceptive newspapers took the daily Juggernaut of our streets quite as a matter of 
■course while shrieking over the air raids 


— that to live is to suffer various and unceasing war. Whether v/e 
sacrifice colHers to mine explosions, or sailors to the sea, or mission- 
aries and garrisons to bad climates, or nurses and physicians to long 
contests against epidemics, or artisans to perilous trades, or troops to 
battles, we make war, and bury the illusion called peace under the 
work we do as a nation. Yes, and on those fortunate days when we 
have pluck enough, candour enough, we have good reason to rejoice 
over our lot. For the yearning after general peace, rightly understood, 
is a base thing, a spiritual neuter, not a spiritual conquest over evils. 
Human nature knows but one peace — the inward rest and ease 
created by the thorough doing of brave work. Briefly, then, let 
politicians alone prattle in a routine of cant about the illusion called 
peace ; they are the dramatists who from a nation's affairs get farces, 
comedies, burlesques, and supreme tragedies.* 


Persons of common sense should note the attitudes of genius towards 
these tremendous matters. Brangwyn and Legros belong to that 
group of big fearless men who have accepted life as war, each in his 
own way; and this group is by far the most noteworthy in art and 
literature. I doubt if any fore-rank genius of any era can be found 
outside it, though there are wonderful rear-rank men among those 
geniuses who have chosen to be either monastic towards life or 
dwellers in unsubstantial fairy places. Shakespeare accepts life as 
war, like Homer; and — to choose a few examples — so do Marlowe, 
Dante, Milton, Fielding, Mantegna, Michelangelo, Titian, Tintoret, 
Rubens, Rembrandt, and — to take another poet — Corneille, of whom 
Napoleon said: "If he were living still I would make a prince of 
him." Further, we have much reason to rejoice that the modern 
genius, from the days of Delacroix, Hugo, Dumas, Sir Walter Scott, 
has endowed us with a good many big men who in various ways 
have seen and shown that life and strife are as inseparable £ft sun- 
light and shadow. But in Legros and Brangwyn especially we must 
note how varied is the candid recognition that man's life upon earth 
is one-third sleep and two-thirds strife, and that even sleep has its 
own occasional conflicts, its dreams that torture. 
In Brangwyn's work I feel that this recognition, probably born 

* The current notion that war is inevitably armed M'arfare is very unthoughtful. Our 
ancestors were wiser. Consider these words from Psalm Iv. : "The words of his 
mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart." 


during the days of his marine pictures and cradled and reared at sea 
among storms and fogs, has found its way through consciousness to 
that habitual observation which unites with and enriches the in- 
stinctive attributes of genius. His War Posters are exceptions. In 
these, inevitably, he is at work in the cause of publicity, advertise- 
ment, propaganda. Lessons are taught, pleas are made, and the 
artist is conscious of his mission and towards himself and the world's 
conflict. But when he is quite himself, in his usual stride of work, 
he accepts human strife as he accepts the English climate and puts 
it into art in his own inimitable manner. Take his memorable 
etchings of "The Feast of Lazarus" (No. 139*), "A Coalmine after 
an Explosion" (No. 59), the thronged "Return from Work" (No. 
107), and the great etchings done at Messina after the earthquake. 
Again, for waifs and strays, the shreds and patches of mankind, 
human flotsam that is hustled here and there by every tide in the 
affairs of men, and human jetsam that sinks, — for all this mortal 
wreckage Brangwyn has a deep sympathy and pity, like that which 
the poor give without fuss to the poorer. And Legros has a very 

* "The Feast of Lazarus," a large print, 28" x 19^", was etched on zinc from Nature. 
Who else has dared this adventure ? Meryon etched from Nature on small plates, 
never on large. 


similar great emotion, a simple modest charity of the heart, intense, 
unpretending, noble, inspiring; so different from those professional 
almsgivers who either hurt or degrade when they go with their selt- 
conscious goodness to dole out relief and spying words to the Miss 
Jetsams and the scattered tribe of Flotsams. I should like to com- 
pile a book on the differing ways in which artists have chronicled 
their hearts' intimacy with draggled camp-followers and depraved 
loiterers in life's warfare. 

Although Legros in his attitude towards phases of war is always 
manly, strong and courageous, although there is no whimpering, 
no sentimentalism, in his etched tragedies and dramas, he is more 
conscious than Brangwyn of those perpetual neighbours — Pain, 
Failure, Death, and their attendants. He reminds me of a brave 
physician who should keep from year to year unchanged the feelings 
of an amateur nurse at home when someone loved is in danger. The 
mystery of Death, and the uncountable guises in which Death visits 
all living things and creatures, were to Legros what the Paradise 
Lost was to Milton. How often did he ask me to linger with him 
over Rethel's wonderful series of prints on Death's Triumphs ! and 
how often did we talk together about his own noble etchings of 
The Triumphs of Death: "The Proclamation," "The Beginning 
of Civil War," "The Combat," "After the Combat," and "Out- 
casts from the Burning City." 

These five etchings, deeply meditated and as candid as "King Lear," 
trouble and annoy the British public, the British public being often 
a singular Hercules indeed; often fed on cant and sentimentality, 
eager to find amusement free from thought, and so fond of illusions 
that it will coo over the idea of everlasting peace when a very bad 
war-map invites it to cry out sternly tor victories. But Legros did 
not mind when his work was disliked. The most lofty and severe 
of all the classic-romantic artists of his time, he never stopped or 
stooped to ask himself whether he was before or behind his own 
period. To be current with mankind, the eternal human drama, is 
all that the greatest can achieve, or need wish to achieve, in the 
fugitive seasons of three-score years and ten. Among the Legros 
etchings, which number more than six hundred, there are many 
of a tender and winsome appeal ; but the deeper prints, with their 
gravity and their sternness, will never be liked by dreamers, pacifists, 
and whining milksops, nor by anyone who fails to learn from the 
strife in his own daily lot that the perpetual toil of the living is to 


'mateb doloeosa 

BELGICA": study 

build up death ; and also — since we all dance towards the hereafter 
in the same brawl — that the companions we need are courage and 
candour, not cant and make-believe. 

It is with these battleworthy virtues that Legros and Brangwyn ex- 
plore their own ways through the millionfold war upon which the 
sunlight pours, often with a scorching tyranny ; and both artists, 
obeying each his own judgment, show in their most thorough etch- 
ings a weighty repose, a tranquillity full of energy and poise. Their 
figures, however agitated by passions, never bustle, the movement 
being one not of tumult but of rhythm and of ordered simplicity. 
Any break in the rhythm of a design, any flaw in the distribution of 
light and shade, any hitch in the handling of a conception, caused 
Legros to renew his work in a different "state"; and sometimes his 
discontent went on until as many as nine variants of the same etch- 
ing were printed off. He would toil hour after hour with his scraper 
to get rid of an offending part, and often he would cut down his 
plate or choose one of a larger size ; and through all these changes, 
as in the austere "Procession in a Spanish Church" (No. 49, in six 
states), his mind brooded always over the dramatic unity of his im- 
pression. Brangwyn is more direct by far, sometimes even too 
-direct ; his auto-criticism does not suffer from techiness ; and it has 
not been his aim, as it was the aim of Legros, to be an experimental 
labourer, as well as an artist, in the point technique of etching. 
Though Legros was unduly self-critical in many ways, sometimes he 
was not distressed by little awkward blunders, just as Sir Walter Scott 
was often undistressed by slips in grammar and by other laxities. He 
who was a master draughtsman would be at times a fumbling pupil 
of his own style; and Brangwyn will admit readily that there are 
days when he joins Legros in this lack of command over his etching- 

But now one great result of Legros' untiring self-criticism must be 
noted : namely, the rich variation that it gave to the qualities of his 
etched line. To pass from his early and uncanny illustrations after 
Edgar Poe's tales to his portraits of Victor Hugo and G. F. Watts, 
or from one of his late dry-points backward to other early work, 
such as "The Communion in the Church of St. Medard" (No. 54, 

* Camille Corot put very prettily the difference between good and bad days in the 
hazards of work. He said: "There are days when / paint; on these days all is bad 
for me. The days when it is not I who am busy, a little angel comes and works for 
ime: then it is better! It is the little angel who has done my best landscapes." 

K 65 

two states), is a very uncommon experience, so completely different 
is the touch of hand and the whole technical inspiration. 
The younger work is much nearer to Brangwyn than the later Legros 
is to his own early self, though we must study his gold-point draw- 
ings, or his lithographic portraits (such as the "Cardinal Manning"), 
if we wish to see Legros in his most exquisite moods of classical re- 
serve and concentration. I have no doubt that Brangwyn could do 
similar work if he set his mind to it, and I hope he will set his mind 
to it; but now he prefers to follow his masterful bent, often in 
moods which set me thinking of his marked kinship with that which 
is most grave, most austere, most virile, and most battleworthy in 
Legros' versatile appeal. 

As young men, and also in after years, these two great artists were 
drawn towards religious inspirations. Already we have seen what 
Brangwyn has achieved as etcher and painter of Bible subjects 
(pp. 1 6, 27), and now let us glance at Legros' conceptions, keeping 
in the background of our thoughts his biblical, evangelical, and 
general religious paintings: his "Amende Honorable," his "Enfant 
Prodigue," "Lapidation de St. Etienne," "The Dead Christ," his 
"Scene de I'lnquisition," the "Ex Voto," the "Benediction de la 
Mer," "L'Angelus," and "Femmes en Prierc." 

Among the etchings let us choose "The Death of St. Francis" (No. 
56, in three states), "Some Spanish Singers" (No. 59, in two states), 
"The Procession in a Spanish Church" (No. 49, in six states), the 
"St. Jerome" (No. 58), "The Communion in the Church of St. 
Medard" (No. 54, two states), and "The Procession through the 
Vaults of St. Medard" (No. 48). The last work, repeated in seven 
variants, may be described as a sort of bas-relief in etching, tor all 
the women are grouped in a line on one plane, just as they would be 
in a bas-relief frieze; and it is to be noted also that this formal 
arrangement of the design is emphasized by its being brought into 
sharp contrast with a most careful display of pure realism in his 
women's stunted figures, and their poor empty faces, in their hideous 
crinolines and flounces, their grotesque make-believe of shabby-genteel 
fashions. All this observation from life's pathetic irony among the 
very poor is put in by a kind hand with rugged force, as in Brang- 
wyn's "Old Women of Bruges," and his "Feast of Lazarus." 
Apart from this, let me note, "The Procession through the Vaults 
of St. Medard" is the one important etching of the first series in 
which a faithful rendering of things seen day by day, though united 


to religious emotion, dominates the 
etcher's aims and results. The other 
proofs and states, when equally realistic, l 
are more imaginative, though equally ''- 
blufFin technique and searchingly austere 
in emotion. "The Death of St. Francis," 
"The Procession in a Spanish Church," 
"Some Spanish Singers," and "A Spanish 
Choir" — these four etchings have 
intense vigour and distinction, and also a new earnestness of 
purpose, ascetic, persistent, dramatic, and blent with a deep and 
true sympathy for the early masters. Thus there is a somewhat of 
Giotto in "The Death of St. Francis." To be sure, one cannot 
localise this somewhat, just as one cannot explain how or why 
Brangwyn's picture of "The Baptism of Christ" has in its modernity 
a quaint ingenuous fervour that belongs to a bygone age. There is 
no analysis for these finer elements of spirituality in art. The point 
is that Legros and Brangwyn absorbed influences from the far-off" 
past, the Giottesque giving a faint or vague ethos to the Legros 
etching; and it brings us into much closer fellowship with St. Francis 
and his four kneeling disciples than any technical skill more modern 
in spirit could succeed in doing. 

There is only one way in which an artist can teach himself to view 
an ancient subject from within its contemporary atmosphere, which 
is far and away more important than contemporary costumes. He 
must learn to be at home in a chosen period as children live in story- 
books; must think in accordance with the period's thoughts, ideals, 
superstitions, and so become the foster-child of a vanished age. But 
this way of studying the past is so difficult that it has only a few 
devotees. Happily, great artists possess the gifts of divination and 
dramatisation ; a few pictures and a few books are all that they need, 
unless they wish to be archasologists in the Alma Tadema manner, 
which is "up and down as dull as grammar on the eve of holiday." 
Legros, deeply moved by the character of St. Francis, as Brangwyn 
is, wished to work as a moved spectator of the scene he recalled ; 
and he did not go far astray from a noble success. Indeed, not his 
technical aptness only, but his religious fervour also, and his naive 
composition, come from a brave and good attempt to endow his 
death of St. Francis with a spirit and a style that accord with 
mediaeval character. And Brangwyn has achieved similar feats of 


divination, though archaeologists, who think far more of detail than 
of spirit and character, could pick — and do pick — many a hole in 
them; just as tailors who visit our exhibitions have much to say 
against the scorn that artists have for "cut" and cutters. 

Again, when we think of Brangwyn and Legros in relation to 
their more rugged and insistent etchings, let us note what they are 
and what they are not. They are never puritanical, over-religious, 
and arrogant; but they know how to be austere, ascetic, rigorous, 
and fervent. Sometimes they are too arbitrary, but never brutal or 
ruthless ; and they know when to set just store by apt bluntness and 
sternness. They keep away from qualities which are tart, sour, 
caustic, acrid, surly, peevish, sullen, irascible, virulent, malevolent ; 
but, when necessary, they are curt, bluff, rugged, brusque, and pretty 
often uncouth. They have nothing to do with boudoirs, and are 
never courtiers at ceremonies of State; but in their kindred passion 
for humble folk and the war of life, they show that chivalric emotion 
is a grace not of external symbols, but of the heart's good breeding. 
If an etcher desires to rival Legros' "The Barge — Evening," or 
Brangwyn's "The Tow-Rope, Bruges, 1906," his whole nature must 
be a perfect gentleman in the ranks — the ranks of life's warfare. 
These etchings belong to similar moods, and their subjects are akin. 
Legros returned to this motif again and again, and always with the 
same zest and profound sympathy. A noble landscape is beyond the 
river, an uneven height embowered among trees and crowned with a 
snug French village. A great fire of sticks throws up a torchlike 
flame and smoke that flare into the sun's afterglow; and a poor 
drayhorse of a man, bent double under the jaded routine of his daily 
fatigue, pulls at a long tow-rope that shackles him to a long, secretive 
barge lying so flat and low upon the water that it seems to be a 
smuggling craft from that mythical river in the lower world, over 
which poets in their darkling hours will ever cross in thought on 
their way to the regions of the dead. Man and barge haunt and 
overcome the great landscape, just as other bad news everywhere is 
tyrant over all that it affects ; and hence this etching belongs to what 
Legros named his "garden of misery," that is to say, his deep and 
tender sympathy for all pariahs, outcasts, tramps, beggars, and other 
casualties of society. In Brangwyn's etching* the barge is unseen, 
and no fewer than five drayhorse men — they are drawn in a scale 

* It is etched on zinc, like the most of Brangwyn's work, and it measures 31J in. by 
21 J in. It was etched also from Nature, not from a drawing. 


• m. - mim. > l.Hlim\ _ ■ A<.i^ ?I 

somewhat too big for the plate — are haltered to the rope, and make 
themselves known as wastrels. Each, after a slack manner of his 
own, chews the bitter cud of his stale fatigue while his brain — his 
birthright through perhaps a million years — is half asleep among surly 
oaths, or half awake in a poor stock yearning after faro beer. And the 
old great houses of Bruges, built by hands with brain in every finger, 
a keen wit in every busy tool, are dimly present behind these five 
rough blunderers of a.d. igo6. 

. . . "Yet the will is free; 
Strong is the soul, and wise, and beautiful ; 
The seeds of God-like power are in us still. 
Gods are we, bards, saints, heroes, if we will." 

You know Brangwyn's "Old Women of Bruges,"* in which every 
detail of clothing suggests a routine or custom that some poor creature 
has obeyed? And you know "La Mort du Vagabond" by Legros .? 
It is an etching toned with aquatint, for the intensity of the artist's 
feeling needed a somewhat that etching alone would not give. On 
several occasions Legros mingled aquatint with etching, just as 
Brangwyn adds tone and body to many prints bv the skill with which 
he applies ink to his plates.f Both artists are moved by similar 
emotions when they appeal to us in these details of manipulative 
craftsmanship. "La Mort du Vagabond," the aquatint deleted, 
would be but a skeleton of itself; just as Brangwyn's presence at the 
death of those other vagabonds, veteran ships which are being broken 
up after all their many victories over winds and waves, would be 
greatly harmed if the resources of thoughtful printing were not 
added to their etched workmanship. " Breaking-up the 'Hannibal' 
at Woolwich, 1905," or "Breaking-up the 'Caledonia' at Charlton 
in 1906," is to Brangwyn's earlier etchings what "La Mort du Vaga- 
bond" is to the black tulips in Legros' "garden of misery." 
And there's another thing to be weighed and measured. Which is 
the more tragical in Legros' great print, the lonely outcast under a 
chill, wet wind, with his dying hand pressed upon a bundle in which 
he carries his little all of soiled comfort, or the gaunt old ravaged 
tree, leafless and forlorn, that grips the earth firmly, though storms 

* This fine study of character was cut down and altered, and is known to-day as "The 
Old Women of Longpre" (No. 173). 

t Brangwyn also has used aquatint with impressive effect, as in the second state of the 
"Bargebuilders, Brentford" (No. 20, I3Jin. by I3Jin.), which could hang side by side 
with Legros' "Fishing with a Net — Evening" (No. 90). 


have thrown it a good many yards out of the perpendicular? Legros 
delighted — and Brangwyn delights — to reveal tragedy in things in- 
animate, just as that Anglo-Frenchman and sailor, Charles Meryon, 
with his haunted and haunting genius, loved to put I know not 
what of human passion and pathos into bricks and stones; as if old 
buildings retained somehow in ancient cities low whispering minds 
bequeathed to them by forgotten yesterdays and the dead who are 
dust. I know not how else to express the uncanniness of Meryon, 
whose etchings are at times so eery that, to my mind, they are almost 
supernatural in the suggestion they give of human suffering as time's 
own veteran. And now and again, perhaps unwittingly, perhaps 
without conscious effort, Legros and Brangwyn rediscover for us the 
common havoc in the midst of strife that imparts to all things ani- 
mate and inanimate a universal fellowship in the looks and aspects 
of high tragedy. Brangwyn's etched prints of the "Duncan" and 
the " Britannia," for example, are tragedies that belong to our sea- 
faring lot and destiny ; they do not mark what is past or finished, 
like the tragedies drawn from English history by Paul Delaroche. 
Is there an epic emotion greater or more needful than that which, 
instead of making a fetish of man's brain, his Pandora box, reveals 
Mankind and Inanimate Nature as subject to the same rule and lot 
in the mysterious ordering of the universe? Only a man here and 
there has used his mind as ably as birds and beasts and insects have 
used their apt instincts; and the result is that most men and nations 
have been cursed far more often than they have been aided by their 
big brains. So I am always greatly moved when a fine artist gains 
from things inanimate a new aspect of that commonplace which 
either humbles the vainglory in men of a day (as when snow prevents 
a German advance or tempests overcome artillery), or shows that there 
are many greatnesses without human intellect where man is feeble 
and out of place. If only the sun could speak, if only his rays could 
murmur criticisms from dawn to dusk, ha comedie huma'we would be 
conducted by a stage manager and creative playwright with a com- 
plete vision of all the futilities in mankind's history. Then progress 
would be certain, and not a stock theme of human self-praise. 
Later we shall see that Brangwyn has etched a good many noble 
plates — and some which are not good — wherein things animate are 
dwarfed into merited triviality by their inanimate surroundings; and 
Legros' attitude is often similar. He admits no animate creature of 
any sort into his dripping print of the "Storm" (No. 288, second 


state, and a dry-point) ; and note how he acts " In the Forest of 
Conteville" (No. 352), an arboreal masterpiece. Let us compare its 
third state with the second. Both are grim and masterful, but the 
second has a man in it, and Legros felt, as we all must feel, that the 
man should be at home, where he will have — or will believe he 
has — some importance. So the intruder is banished from the third 
state, a fine haughty tree occupies his place, and the other trees have 
added many years to their bulk and beauty. Justice to a forest has 
been done, sterner and finer justice than Ruysdael does to one in 
a good etching that reveals his fondness for great oaks. 
And would you be glad or annoyed if Brangwyn had put a human 
figure in the foreground of his etching called " The Storm," with 
its tall dark trees and its wind-swept energy and amplitude of space ? 
I should swear. Man's place in this dramatic landscape is in the cart 
beyond those gray palings where the road loses itself in shade under 
adult poplars. F. B.'s " Storm " is in the same mood as Legros', but 
receives some graver accents and sterner printing. Many landscapists 
would have spoilt Legros' drenched poem by foisting two or three 
storks into a swampy pond. How fond they are, these landscapists, 
of what they call "a little animal animation," or "a bit of human 
interest." In the eighteen-eighties they had a craze for black pigs. 

-"-_- — -^^^^^=r.-^ = 

— -i=^-^-=i- ^>^--r_ 




s" ■ ■ — 


-* A^ ^-'* .** ^ ^ 


begun by R. B. Browning, the poet's son. Negro pigs were seen 
even in places where black pigs were unknown. Landscapists carried 
a piggery in their paint-boxes. And think of Claude Lorrain, or 
Claude Gelee. Though wiser and freer as an etcher than as a painter, 
how seldom does he resist the spell of "animal animation!" He 
never asks us to remember that distrust of minor brains ought to be 
welcomed as the beginning of human progress. Among his prints, 
which number thirty odd, minor brains are too busy, as in cows, 
goats, and their attendants. Even the best of Claude etchings, "The 
Drover," is a noble landscape hurt by nine dull cows and a ruminant 

Animate interest, indeed! How many men and women with faggots 
on their backs have limped their way into pictures.? Even Legros 
was not proof against this faggot-bearer, but he turned the old 
recipe several times into Death and the Woodman. Is it not time 
for young landscapists to learn with other folk that men owe many 
stimulative acts of grace to mankind's potential virtues, and that a 
chief among them is the need of improving mankind by deleting a 
great deal of "human interest" from their own lives and labours? 
Legros' airy and gracious etching, "A Sunny Meadow" (No. 340), 
is perverted by a man who lies at full length near the foreground, 
giving a balancing note to the exquisite design that three or four 
rabbits would have given within the sweet serenity of a happy day. 
Later we shall see how Brangwyn employs the supernumeraries that 
enter into the drama of his etched work, often with a varied aptness, 
and sometimes not.* 


Great students of strife, like Brangwyn and Legros, are seldom much 
attracted in art by strife in its military aspects, except in a picture 
here and there, like Charlet's "Retreat from Russia," or Boissard de 

* I have overstressed intentionally this attitude towards animate figures in landscape 
because it contains several elements of useful truth which are usually passed over in 
silence by critics and interpreters. The introduction of human and animal life into 
landscape depends on two factors : the character of each landscape and the degree of 
tact and skill and poetry revealed by an artist (a) in his choice of apt animate figures, 
and (b) in his handling or treatment. But every landscapist believes that his figures 
are apt and right — a huge mistake. When a landscape and its animate life are in 
happy, inevitable accord, every one will agree with Professor Selwyn Image, who says, 
" To me a landscape without, at any rate, some suggestion of human and animal life is 
almost as a face with its eyes gone." The word "animal" includes birds, of course, 
whose presence in some landscapes gives a winged, exploring hope to nature's 
most sinister desolateness. 



Boisdenier's "Episode de la Retraite de Moscou" (Musee de Rouen), 
a little-known great picture of epic grandeur, and within the con:i- 
panionship of Millet, Meunier, Butin, Cottet, Brangwyn and Legros. 
Amono- all the many etchings by our artists there is not, I believe, a 
military subject,* though both learnt in early youth to understand 
the occasional need and utility of armed strife. One evening I re- 
lated to Legros the argument of Ruskin's lecture in praise of armed 
strife, and he was moved into an assent somewhat wistful. Ruskin 
learnt five vast things from history, modern, mediaeval, and ancient : 

1. That no great art ever rose on earth but among a nation ot 
soldiers ; 

2. That there is no great art possible to a nation but that which 
is based on battle ; 

3. That in our times the arts have remained in partial practice 
only among nations who have retained the minds of soldiers ; 

4. That vices, not virtues, are likely to abound in social life when 
civilised men are freed for a longish time from the peremptory 
discipline of armed strife; 

5. And, in brief, "that all great nations learned their truth of 
word, and strength of thought, in war; were nourished in war, 
and deceived by peace ; trained by war, and betrayed by peace : 
in a word, were born in war and expired in peace." 

It was very strange to Ruskin to discover all this — and very dread- 
ful—but he saw it to be quite an undeniable fact. But in his lecture 
he forgets to think without laxity. When he uses the word "peace" 
he means no more than the absence of armed contest ; and the word 
"war" as he employs it means no more than the presence of arnied 
contest. He forgets the omnipresent and universal strife, which in- 
cludes all natural and human agencies that waste, ravage, kill, do 
harm in any way, cause pain by any means. 

Moral and intellectual nerve are always impaired very much by great 
poverty, and also by much material prosperity, by a flood tide of 
high profits and a roaring trade. When Ruskin says that peace goes 
with sensuality and selfishness, corruption and death, we must regard 
the word "peace" as a synonym for disintegration and decay, dis- 

* More than once Legros reveals the tragedy of revolution, as in the early etching 
called "L' Ambulance"; but these subjects are not military. 

L 73 

astrous phases of civil war; and when Ruskin adds that "war is the 
foundation of all the arts," and also "of all the high virtues and 
faculties of men," he refers to armed strife only; and even here we 
must note his misuse of the word " foundation," as the relation be- 
tween great armed strife and great art is not one of cause and effect. 
Success in both arises from an awakened greatness in a people, and 
both are dependent on those inborn gifts for fighting which man- 
kind has preserved through innumerable ages of combative history, 
social, moral, religious, commercial, intellectual, international, and 
internecine. Delete from our national character the primal fighting 
virtues, and the British Empire would fall into fragments, and our 
social life would be invertebrate and futile. Good and evil alike 
depend on their motive-power; and when a noble cause — or a cause 
that is looked upon as noble — sends men forth into great armed 
battles, a whole nation may rise with the cause into greatness, like 
the Greeks before and after Marathon, or like that inspiration of the 
Crusades which became also the inspiration of Christian art and 

Consider too that wonderful ferment in the soul of England which 
ennobled every phase of Elizabethan enterprise, or that other ferment 
which, extending from Marlborough's victories to its disappearance 
after the Crimean muddles, endowed our country with a truly 
magnificent sequence of big men and big achievements. And the 
present armed war, the vastest in all history, will it be followed by 
a splendid new roll-call of artists, authors, and other men of genius.? 
Let us hope so, despite the fact that incalculable agencies are hard at 
work. Perhaps the spiritual reaction in social life may be towards 
enervation and disruption. The baleful influence of noisepapers by 
the thousand is one perilous factor ; the self- worship of democrats is 
another; industrialism is a third; and far too many modernists in 
their heart of hearts are weak and sentimental. This fact explains 
why most of our writers have encountered the present war in a, 
temper often of cant and often of wistful approval, half at variance' 
with true martial courage and fortitude and honour. The illusion 
called peace has tripped from their tongues and pens. Are they 
eager to be hackneyed politicians? 

If much art as virile as Legros' and Brangwyn's should come from 
new men with the social aftermath of the present armed conflict, we 
shall be fortunate indeed. It is a great deal to expect, but those who 
expect little should receive no more than the widow's mite. 


Turning now from the elements of strife in our parallelism, and from 
the reflection that these elements invite and merit, let us glance at a 
few other things that look out at us from the etchings. Legros and 
Brangwyn are equally versatile, and the world distrusts versatility. 
Legros in his travailing takes us not only from paintings in many 
branches to etchings ot many sorts ; not only from pen and 

pencil sketches 
1 i th ography, 
work, but also 
medals, like the 
the John Stuart 
the monument 
chapter I speak 
versatility. For 
note, it happens 
gros and Brang- 
in the skill with 
chestrate their 
giving it apecu- 
naturalness by 
sought and 
ment is vari- 
Compare F. B.'s 
Dixmude" with 
Abbey Farm," 
Burning V'ill- 
etching of the 
The very first 

to water-colour, 
and gold-point 
to some fine 
Tennyson and 
Mill, and also to 
ture, including 
fountains at 
In the final 
of Brangwyn's 
the rest, let us 
often that Le- 
wyn are alike 
which they or- 
liar look of 
which the 
planned arrange- 
ously masked. 
"Windmill at 
A. L.'s "The 
or A. L.'s "The 
age "with F. B.'s 

etchmgs that 
Brangwyn as a boy noticed and loved were by Legros, and he 
remembers gratefully that he, when only about sixteen, was drawn 
towards " La Mort du Vagabond," and " Men Felling Trees," and 
some other aspects of peasant life and needy wayfaring. 
Legros is charming always — delicate and meditative — in his gentler 
etchings, such as "After the Day's Work " (No. 559), a farm 
scene full of repose. He is not easy in architecture; his etching- 
point grows heavy and yet hesitating; and never that I remember 



does he rise, as Brangwyn has risen often, into the soaring flight of 
Gothic cathedrals, which are always airy music in stone, and magnifi- 
cent symbols of the Ascension that Christianity teaches and pleads 
for incessantly. Classic architecture, Greek and Roman, has a 
might that weighs downwards with majestic power, as if eager to 
be earthbound like the frolic gods on Olympus. Later we shall 
study Brangwyn's acute judgment as an etcher of architecture. 
Note also his use of upright lines and diagonal lines; and his eager 
fondness — excessive now and then — for deep rich plots of dark tint 
and shadow. He finds music in strong contrasts between light and 
shade, and believes, as Tintoret teaches, that black and white, nobly 
orchestrated, are among the most beautiful of colours.* On the 
other hand, Legros' work in its later and latest moods grows towards 
a grayish ink as if the artist wished to get as near as he could in 
etching to the delicate colour of gold-point drawings; just as 
Turner's oil-painting passed from deep tones towards the brilliance 
and translucency of water-colour. Legros, again, like Rembrandt, is 
very fond of intricate hatching and cross-hatching and the effects that 
he obtains with them are diversified and charming. Pretty often he 
seems to catch the moving air in a most delicate webbing of nerv- 
ously vital lines, lines that pulsate; and sometimes, as in the tired 
farm-horse that enjoys a good feed "After the Day's Work," a 
witchery of interlaced and vibrant lines gives a very peculiar repose 
and tremulous atmosphere. In Legros, again, we are often drawn 
towards long plates, while in Brangwyn we feel very often that a 
square plate, or plate that approaches a squarish form, is the best of 
all shapes for an etcher to work within. Thus the very touching 
and original etching of The Nativity, with its tender rustic awe and 
its primitive old spiral staircase, is composed on a zinc plate measur- 
ing 28I in. by 2i| in. and The Crucifixion is nearly square, 30! in. 
by 29!^ in. Every contrast between artists has great interest to 
students of individuality. 

One point more. Fran9ois Millet's work was an early influence for 
good in the lives of these fine etchers. It was in 1861, the fourth year 
of a very bitter struggle, that Legros was cheered by Millet — but at 
second-hand. One day, when he called on his printer in Paris, 

* As a rule — there are just a tew exceptions — Brangwyn's etchings have but two 
states : a Trial Proof and the Published and Signed Proof : and I note that the changes 
made between these states are usually towards greater depths of tone and a more 
sonorous orchestration of sunlight and shadow. 


eager to see proofs of some new etchings, he was taken to task by 
the printer's wife, a good, shrewd housewife with a nipping and an 
eager tongue, who found neither merit nor money in the subjects 
and methods chosen by young Legros. "And, monsieur," she added, 
" 1 am not certain that anyone in Paris likes your etchings — except 
Millet, Jean Fran9ois Millet." "What! Does Millet like them?" 
the young artist cried. "Then, Madame, I am more than satisfied, 
believe me." And the good woman did believe him, so tart did she 
look as she put on an air of reproachful resignation. 



't is always useful to note how 
artists, and particularly painters, 
make their first efforts with an 
I etching-point. Ruysdael, in the 
earliest of his twelve etchings,* 
done when he was about seventeen (1646), got a touch and a vision 
that Corot and Chintreuil must have liked, for it is about midway 
between their moods. But Ruysdael passed on at once to a different 
style and a tussle against oak trees. Turner, governed by his inborn 
stinginess, fixed in a wooden handle the prong of an old fork, and 
then told himself that work with it must not be more troublesome 
than drawing on paper with pencil. But Turner with a broomstick 
would have drawn masterpieces on a quicksand it there had been 
nothing else for him to employ. Other men are abashed when they 
tackle for the first time the art of etching, knowing that they will 
hate a tiresome loss of ease and freedom during their transition from 
pencil and brush to etching-needle and metal plate. 
Is it better for them to make a start on original work than to copy 
for a while from old prints? Brangwyn preferred to do original 
work, while another sailor of original genius, Meryon, eased his 
difficulties by copying. His first attempt, made under advice from 
Eugene Blery, was a Head of Christ after a miniature done by Elise 
Bruyere, from a painting by Philippe de Champaigne; and in other 
copies he analysed the etched line of some old craftsmen, among 
whom were Zeeman and Karel Dujardin. Meryon set great store 
by Zeeman, whose " \''eues de Paris et ses Environs" were published 
at Amsterdam about 1650. He either copied or translated from 
other men too, and acquired a touch with his needle even detter and 
quicker than that of Jules Jacquemart, who worked at the Louvre 
for the French Government, etching many trinkets there, while poor 
Meryon fought alone through privation until his mind gave way 
and he entered Charenton. 

Brangwyn's apprenticeship in etching — his second apprenticeship, as 
he did some etched work during the eighteen-eighties — had nothing 
at all of a piece with Meryon's. It began in 1900 and went on 
intermittently for three years. Nineteen etchings belong to this 

* " Le Ruisseau Traversant Le Village." Largeur, 10 pouces 3 iignes ; hauteur, 6 
pouces 8 Iignes. Vienna et Amsterdam. Duplessis 8. 


period in the catalogue of two hundred chosen proofs published by 
the Fine Art Society, London, in 191 2, and they are worth careful 
examination. Let me note, first of all, which problems were attacked, 
always at pointblank range, but not always with equal tenacity : 

1 . The use of small plates both for landscape and for portrait heads. 
Examples: "The Head of a BHnd Beggar" (No. 3) is done on a 
plate 4 inches by 45 inches, and "An Old Tree at Hammersmith" 
(No. 14) on a plate four by five. This landscape was etched from 

2. Testing different metals, copper and zinc, and choosing zinc 
as the more obedient to his temperamental bias. In the nineteen 
subjects only two are on copper. Meryon tried tin — a softer metal 
than zinc — at least for several 
etchings.* In two hundred chosen 
etchings by F. B. I find fifty- 
eight on copper; and I find, too, 
that in four years — 1909 to 191 2 
inclusive — copper was used nine 
times, for the doing of sixty-two 
etchings, while in 1907 it was 
accepted fourteen times in the 
choice of twenty-nine plates, and 
in 1906 — the most friendly year 
to copper— fifteen times in twenty- 
seven etchings. 

3. During the three apprentice 
years (1900-1903) Brangwyn ex- 
perimented with aquatint and 
aquatint graining, as well as with 
original printing methods, as if 
eager to know how many 
painterly virtues he could 
from metals. 


* Meryon's use of tin : Copied Portrait of 
Pierre Nivelle (I 584-1660); and Portrait 
of T. Agrippa d'Aubigne, from a litho- 
graph by Hibert. Also the portrait of 
Armand Gueraud, the printer, from a 
photograph. Burty says : " It was en- 
graved with the burin on a soft metal, tin, 
which gave off only a few proofs." 


4- In the use of large plates he made several big adventures. "The 
Tanyard, Brentford," for instance, an etching done from Nature, 
with its busy men, all typical and boldly sketched, and its timber 
sheds which have the uneven and forlorn look of weatherbeaten 
wood, comes from a zinc plate 151" by i2|"; and the second version 
of London Bridge, to which we shall return in a later chapter, is 
a copper-plate etching that measures air," by i6|''. 
As I wish to set down as clearly as I can what my research has given 
to me, let me ask readers to remember that an interpreter of art 
cannot suppress what he does not like, but that preferences are offered 
— and should ever be offered — not as verdicts, but only as things to 
be turned over by thought and talk. Let us choose, then, a few 
small plates from the apprentice period : 

(a). Head of a Jew, on zinc, 4' by 5', 1900 (No. 2 in the official 

Catalogue of 1912). 

(b). Head of a Blind Beggar (No. 3), on zinc, 4' by 4I', 1900. 

(c). Head of a Suffolk Fisherman (No. 12), on zinc, 4' by 5', 1903. 

(d). Head of an Old Man (No. 13), on zinc, 5' by 4", 1903. 

(e). An Old Tree at Hammersmith (No. 14), on zinc, 4' by 5', 1903. 

The Jew is about three-quarters face, looking towards our right ; he 
wears a tall and soft cap, and heavy shadows fall across him. Impatient 
handling is evident, strong lines running — in a sweep that curves 
from right to left — over the face and coat. It seems clear to me 
that the etcher is cramped, like a tall good cricketer with a child's bat. 
Would this hindrance have been so irksome, I wonder, if our artist 
had taken his first lesson in a portrait etching not from Nature, from 
the life, but as a translator from Vandyke? Here is a useful specu- 
lation tor young etchers to apply to their own cases. A student 
copying from Vandyke's etched portraiture would keep fhe whole 
art before his mind, and his whole attention would be fixed on that 
consummating ease with which every line performs its office with- 
out becoming either too dark or too light, and always in scJ*e with 
both head and plate. It is a joy to watch the skill with which 
Vandyke places a fine kitcat portrait on a small plate, the head 
always in the most fitting spot and never too big for the surface 
upon which it is drawn, as Cranach's heads are invariably, like those 
by Stauffer-Bern, to take only two examples. And Vandyke's poses 
reveal his sitters' characters, wittily and charmfuUy. To vie as a 
translator against this master-mind in etched portraiture, leaving 


original work until the hand has gained ease fiXi^tftMar 
with new tools and on small plates, could not 
be to any man a derogatory exercise, " a long 
farewell to all one's greatness." But original 
workers are naturally opposed to all copying, 
as a rule. Why should they wish to borrow 
classic bats when they are either accustomed 
or eager to make good scores off their own ? 
Here and there a modernist has copied, like 
Degas and Van Gogh, but the usual method 
nowadays is to confront nature at once and in 
a questioning spirit free from servile and soul- 
less imitation. Still, an amalgam of methods 
old and new is often invaluable during an 
original man's apprenticeship. As Shakespeare 
did not hesitate to borrow the outlines of useful 

plots, why should a modernist in art hesitate to copy now and then 
from an earlier master ? ' 

The "Blind Beggar" may be an old salt; he looks weather-blown 
and tough and taut. It seems to me that his portrait is placed not 
at all well on the plate. There's a wide gap of background on our 
right, behind and above his left shoulder, and it is scrambled with 
irritation, horizontal lines making so much ado that they draw one's 
eyes away from the modelling of the face, a modelling somewhat like 
that of a woodcut. Neither of these heads, viewed as abecedarian 
work, is to my mind good enough for Brangwyn. There's much 
improvement — the improvement, indeed, is great — when we see the 
humorous old "Suffolk Fisherman," and also No. 13, a thoughtful 
well-built "Head of an Old Man"; but yet the handicraft sets me 
thinking somehow of woodcuts, and both heads are so big that they 
are out of scale with the small zinc plates. I seem to be looking at 
each model through a square hole rather than through a window. 
And the "Old Tree at Hammersmith," with its bluff impression of 
bad weather and of material bulk, has almost the same disproportion 
between scale of setting and technique and the plate's twenty square 

It seems to me that Brangwyn has not annoyed his foes often 
enough by proving that he can beat at their own exercise the 
delicate sprinters and plodders over small plates. That Brangwyn 
should be a master of small work as of big, is proved by a water- 



colour sketch, dated 1884, and treasured by Selwyn Image. It is a 
tiny marine, apt, fresh, sincere, with a boat on the sands and a touch 
of sea beyond. It proves that Brangwyn at seventeen could work at 
ease on a vei^^mall surface; just as Rembrandt's bust portrait of 
his mother, a^my thing, shows a master at home, entirely free, and 
as tenderly proud and happy as the dear old lady, who loves to be 
etched by her great son. If this wee portrait were enlarged to life- 
size by magic lantern, as Legros wished to enlarge Vandyke's etched 
portraits as a lesson for all artists, we should find that the gracious 
and minute fondling touch had in it a breadth and scale that magnifi- 
cation could not lose. 

Nothing is more wonderful than the modesty with which the Old 
Masters turned from vast to small surfaces. Even the giant Michel- 
angelo, who worked for eight years in the Sistine Chapel on a mural 
painting forty-seven feet high and forty-three wide, and who at sixty 
attacked marble with such fury that he made more chips fly about 
in fifteen minutes than three young sculptors would have made in an 
hour,*- — even this Hercules of genius delighted to caress and cherish 
trifles when trifles were necessary ; and here he resembled Leonardo, 
and Mantegna, and Rubens. When Mantegna took up engraving 
he was about sixty, and yet, as Delaborde says very well, though 
his work shows " I'inquietude d'une main irrite par sa lutte avec le 
moyen," his principal mark is "un melange singulier d'ardeur et 
de patience, de sentiment spontane et d'intentions systematiques." 
What Brangwyn's smallest etchings need now and then is this addi- 
tion of patience to his ardour, and of purposeful method to his 
instantaneous sentiment. 

But as soon as we turn to the larger F. B. etchings of this first period 
— the well-known "Assisi," for example, or the second version of 
London Bridge — we watch how a long-distance manner, with a 
stumble here and a mishap there, settles down into its own stride, and 
becomes more and more adventurous and confident. " Barkstrippers 
at Port Mellan, Cornwall" (No. 8, 16" by 13"), is a good industrial 
group, well observed and easy, though its efixct is rather weak in 
qualities of air and somewhat like a woodcut ; and some very diffi- 
cult problems are partly overcome in a bold plate etched out of 

* According to Blaise de Vigenere, an eye-witness, who adds : " It would seem as if, 
inflamed by the idea of greatness which inspired him, this great man attacked with a 
species of fury the marble which concealed the statue. ... I feared almost every 
moment to see the block split into pieces." 



doors, "Trees and Factories 
at Hammersmith " (No. 
II, 1 6" by 13"). I like the 
first state, a sketch in out- 
hne, even better than the 
pubhshed state in very em- 
phatic light and shade, the 
factories in sunlight con- 
trasting overmuch (to my 
mind) with the foreground 
trees and land. It seems 
to me that the trees fail to 
grip the earth firmly ; their 
charm is the branching 

"A Gate at Assisi " (No. 
16, 17" by 13"), with its 
procession in the wind and 
rain, its pleasant glimpse 
of distant country, and the 
trees, tall and dark, is a 
spirited venture; and there 
is alert observation with 
true feeling in another Assisi plate, an aquatint on zinc, in which a 
beggar comes forth from under a shadowed archway through which 
a patch of town can be seen in sun and shade. This aquatint 
measures S^" by 10"; it is clearly seen in the right scale, and the 
beggar's face has a questioning sorrow that fears to-morrow much 
more than to-day and yesterday. 

There are two etchings of old trees at Hammersmith, the one we 
have considered (No. 14, 4" by 5"), and No. 19, 12" by 15"; and 
the bigger one is by far the more impressive. Several other subjects 
from this novitiate period belong to later chapters, and they happen 
to be etchings which prevent this period from seeming as a whole 
perhaps a little too much occupied with the end of a perilous art 
before its beginning has been mastered by unflinching research and 
persevering labour. The early versions of London Bridge are 
attacked with patient industry and zest (though not, perhaps, with 
quite enough affection for pointwork pure and simple), and a "Road 
in Picardy," as we shall see anon, tackles with vigorous care and 





much success the same problems that Hobbema masters with simple 
and serene nobleness in a spacious epitome of Holland's landscape, 
"The Avenue at Middelharnis," a picture as full of airy sky and 
cloud as it is of cosy earth that nestles into the Dutchman's heart 
and history. Every imagination can roam through this Hobbema 
with a freedom like that of a swallow over flat Dutch homelands. 



t is convenient to divide this 
chapter into halves : 

I. Landscape pure and simple, 
free sometimes, and sometimes 

not quite free, from the great human drama ; 

2. Wayside jottings, travel sketches, and matured impressions. 

What are we likely not to find in these divisions? Every artist, 
wittingly or unwittingly, omits many things from his executive 
aims and focuses all his esthetic zeal around certain preferences, as 
Corot — in his etched croquis as in his paintings— forgets Nature's 
tremendous weight and tragedy in his reverence for the soft winsome- 
ness of her perfumed hours, or as Rowlandson turned from the 
sweetness of Wheatley and endows art with brawn : weight, muscle, 
sweat, and lusty caricature. For this reason, before proceeding 
any farther, let me try to state what I take to be the bounds 
within which Brangwyn has gathered his simpler motifs out of 

First of all, then, Brangwvn is rarely a forester in his etched work, 
a detailing master of trees, an inquisitive student of that elemental 
architecture which is plainly suggested by their branching abundance 
and the individuality of their columnar growth. He loves trees 
greatly, of course ; their decorative appeal puts a spell upon his imagi- 
nation; and (as a rule) he subordinates all else in their growth, texture 
and character to the depth of tone in ornamental plots and patterns 
that they enable him to use as elements of design. Only once, I believe 
— "The Olive Trees of Avignon," a studious etching, free and great- 
hearted — has he studied any tree as Ruysdael studied oaks; not yet 
has he caught in spring the airy lightness of thickets and coppice 
borders ; and he has not yet looked at noble holts and spinneys from 
within an atmospheric inspiration like that which Claude reveals in 
two or three etchings, and to perfection in " The Drover." But 
landscape art would be a dull thing if its devotees were arboreal all 
with one mind and purpose. To see woods and trees as Brangwyn 
sees them, as elements of design, is to be fascinated by wonderful 
varied shapes and beauties, ranging from the austere darkness of 


venerable yews to the most exquisite diapers that silver birches 
make with their lady grace and overbred languor. 
An artist must be moved before he can move anyone else. Brangwyn 
is greatly moved by the wind, and he is able to suggest as an etcher 
even that remnant of wind that loiters between gusts among leaves 
and boughs, causing there so many contrary agitations that trees 
appear to stand erect and still while their foliage is all astir with 
movements that 
another. He is 
rain, and uses it 

as a subordinate 
decorative pur- 
remember any 
which he has 
dominant motif 
comforts, the 
ies of a wet day, 
from foul wea- 
has wished to 
second state or 
in Picardy." 
Another impres- 
true to me : that 
wyn is impas- 
great space, he 
etcher to deepen 
illusion of at- 
tance and magic, 
birds appear in 
skies? If so, I 
it ; and let me 
memory how 

the help that etchers have obtained from an occasional use of 
birds. Take Paul Potter's etching "La Mazette," in which a worn- 
out old farm-horse gazes half-afraid at the body of a dead mare. Two 
crows in the sky are placed well at the right distance. Or take 
Claude's "Drover" once again, and note how a few birds in the 
serene sky, well distributed, add limpidity and varied depth to the 
fresh sweet air and space around and beyond the riverside trees. 
Yes, but we must turn to Meryon if we wish to see a really great 

counteract one 
moved also -by 
boldly and well 
agent for his 
poses. I cannot 
etching in 
taken tor his 
the moist dis- 
dripping miser- 
but he has got 
ther all that he 
get, as in the 
stage of "A Road 

sion is equally 
although Brang- 
sioned towards 
rarely tries as an 
and extend the 
mospheric dis- 
Does a flight ot 
any of his etched 
don't remember 
recall to your 
invaluable is 

passion for birds and their flight. Examples : "The Stryge," "Under 
an Arch of Notre-Dame Bridge," "Le Pont Neuf," "The Gallery 
of Notre-Dame," "Le Pont-au-Change," where there is also a balloon 
suspended among some birds, and "The Ministry of Marine," where 
a good sky is brisk, not with birds alone, but also with other flying 
wonders — even sharks, horse marines, and a few other foes of the 
French Admiralty, which fly as buoyantly as do cumulus clouds. A 
desire to enhance every illusion of atmospheric space was as per- 
emptory to Meryon as a passion for decoration is to Brangwyn. 
Remember always that Nature is as diverse as art, which is ever 
as diverse as good artists become. 

Have you noticed how Brangwyn is affected by clouds ? Here and 
there he reminds me of Peter Dewint's great water-colours, where 
clouds are often neglected because Dewint is in love with Mother 
Earth ; but Brangwyn's most native temper towards clouds resembles 
a dramatist's feeling for a scene to be done and a climax to be built up. 
A gentle and pellucid sky is as touching as the soft clasp of a baby's 
hand ; but the sky's British routine is a variable drama, and Brang- 
wyn prefers its most noteworthy effects. Once or twice, as in the 
tall and noble etching of "The Monument, London" (No. 200, 
1 9 1 2, 1 7^" by 28" ),* there's barely room enough perhaps for the cloud 
pageant. Most etchers are as timid towards clouds as the devil 
is said to be towards holy water. Modern exceptions — Maxime 
Lalanne, for example — are all most welcome, though their appeal in 
skyscapes has seldom a vast range. From Brangwyn at his best we 
receive immense moments of the sky ; and I wish he would prove in 
an Italian landscape by the sea, with shipping and classical architec- 
ture, that the routine praise bestowed on Claude's etched Sunrise, 
has been more useful to print-sellers than to etchers. 


And now we have to study a few landscapes in our first division, 
landscapes pure and simple, in which nothing vile is introduced 
by men. 

I. A Road at Longpre in Picardy, No. 10, on zinc, \^\' by 12", 
dating from 1903. 

* This print has two states, ene with sunlight flashing out from behind clouds, and one 
■with cumulus effects. 


Here is an avenue of those aspiring trees, mop-like and very tall, 
that French and Dutch economy cultivates; trees that meet every 
wind with politely elastic bows and bends, nodding their plumes 
like those great ladies in wonderful headgear at whom Addison 
poked his mellow ridicule. It is an etching in two states or stages. 
All Brangwynians know the first state, its clouds piled in with a 
few happy touches, its foreground boldly ordered with massed light 
and shade, and the trees delicately studied with energetic pointwork. 
At first I could not make out why such a fine avenue, with abundant 
space all around it, made me feel that it grew out of a fiat world 
and that I should come to the world's brink if I went down the 
road and climbed those mild hills. This hilly horizon is low enough 
to be too low, the land occupying even less than a fourth part of 
the etching's height, so there's appreciably more than three parts 
of sky. Paul Potter used this ficelle in his etched Bull, and in 
several other prints, naive and wisely handled, which merit much 
more praise than they receive. No doubt it is a dodge that adds 
greatly to the scale of things. Potter's animals appear too big to 
find grass enough in their neighbourhood; and though Brangwyn's 
avenue soars grandly into a void full of air and hinted cloud, my own 
liking for very low horizons remains imperfect. 

A few technical details. Every tree and its foliage are lightly 
massed and well aired; their pointwork is cross-hatched with lines 
that curve and disappear, except in a place or so, where no crossed 
lines add substance and tone. On the tree-trunks, and the road's sunny 
part, as well as on a field, texture is suggested by a spray of dots — an 
effective scattered grain ; and it reminds me that Vandyke in several 
etched portraits — the beautiful one of himself, for instance, and the 
Justus Sustermans, and the Josse de Momper — employs sparingly 
in flesh technique a fine dust of graining dots. For landscape tex- 
ture in large etchings, even foul biting is often useful, and Brangwyn 
has employed it in several plates. Heavy shadows run in a billow 
across the foreground ; they are made with deep horizontal lines 
that flow curvingly ; and their mass of dark tone gives body and 
solidity to the foreground. 

Only two proofs were printed of this Picardy Avenue in its second 
state, which gives a deep and powerful impression of a thorough 
rainstorm. Under gathered clouds the whole landscape has darkened, 
and Brangwyn is at home in a mood that he likes better than the 
linear peace of his earlier version. 


> OS 

w £ 

5 R 


2. Trees in Snow at Mortlake, on copper, No. 24, 3^^" by 4!", dating 
from 1 904. Etched out of doors. 

As a fact, the trees are not in snow, for a gale has freed them from 
their white burden; they stand out as a dark plot against the upper 
sky and above a snow-laden road and bank. An effective little winter 
scene, done in a vein of woodcutting, decorative, and with a peculiar 
hush — the hush that snow enshrouds us with — even in cities among 
modernized traffic. Nature drapes herself with silence whenever 
snow falls, as we do in the presence of that completed sleep named 


3. A Storm near Craven Cottage, Fulham, No. 29, on zinc, 18 
by 18", 1904. Etched on the spot, then restudied at home. 

We have seen this bluff and boisterous etching (p. 71), but now I 
note two points more : first, a telling contrast between driving rain 
and rising cloud; next, another low horizon, above all on our right- 
hand side, where, at the plate's edge, not a fifth part of the etching's 
height is occupied by land ; and since the sombre trees at their 
highest nearly touch the plate's top edge, as in the Picardy Avenue, 
this low horizon is noticeable, though ably masked on our left by a 
bushy bank in strong light and shade. 

4. Maple Tree, Barnard Castle, No. ^^, on copper, 14!^" by lof", 
1905. Etched out of doors. 

Beyond this maple tree, the jolly old bridge is seen in its own plane, 
and sky is felt here and there between the foliage. All else is land 
and maple tree, simple, broad, Brangwynian, though some leaves — 
those which sunlight picks out — are detailed almost with Ruskin's 

5. Cornfield at Montreuil-sur-Mer, on zinc. No. 104, 14" by Sf, 

A true note from Nature, with a mystery that is full of the harvest 
season abroad. A barrier of mop-like trees, seen in vanishing per- 
spective, screens the harvest from keen winds that winnow, and 
gives acreage to the cornfield. 

6. The River Lot at St. Cirq-la-Popie, on zinc, No. 159, 10" by 8", 
1 910. Etched fram Nature, like two other studies on the same 
river, Nos. 171 and 170. 

This most fascinating townlet is a few miles west of Figeac; it is 

N 89 

built on a rock on the river's left bank. Brangwyn has done much 
fine work there, and this broad, delicate sketch of pure landscape, 
with nearish trees and water, its distant heights, and its hospitable 
French air and thrift, shows how refreshing etched croquis can be 
when an artist is so occupied with Mother Earth that he cannot 
coquet with that sweet technique over which many writers on prints 
talk profusely. 

7. The River Lot Again, on zinc. No. 171, 9I' by 8", 1910. 

Serene, unclouded, airy, and a most pleasing distance with a village 
on the height. I am not sure that ten or twelve very slim young 
poplars, beyond the water, have roots that grip firmly, but they have 
a poetry of their own, seeming to stand on tiptoe to watch, as dark 
and alert sentinels, over a day of thorough tranquillity. Most other 
British etchers would have put into this happy sketch an effeminate 
mood, like that which finds its way also into some of Tagore's poetry 
on Nature and on Mother Earth. Nature is too lusty for any human 
mind seriously to woo her with soft little caressing ways and moods. 
The river Lot has its floods and its valley has fitful harvests ; its days 
of peace are but moments in the eternity ot that grand tussle for 
existence which pits tree against tree and grasses against grasses, in 
weather fair and foul; and so I like the bold touch with which 
Brangwyn shows tenderness on a gentle day. His mood, in every 
one of his pure landscape etchings, has nothing like Tagore's Nature- 
worship : "I have seen your tender face and I love your mournful 
dust, Mother Earth ... I will worship you with labour ... I 
will pour my songs into your mute heart, and my love into your 
love." Brangwyn has felt too many storms at sea and too much 
dire havoc in Messina after the earthquake, ever to coo over Mother 
Earth. His mood in landscape art is akin to the mood with which 
Abraham Lincoln encountered all peremptory needs of a necessary 
civil war : " I am not bound to win but I am bound to be true. I 
am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to the light 
I have." Brangwyn has always in full force what the French call 
"le sentiment des masses, pas un detail superflu"; only his orchestra- 
tion of this fine sentiment seems at times to be too emphatic. 



From our second division 
— wayside jottings, travel 
sketches and matured 
impressions — I choose 
some typical etchings. 

I. Assisi, on zinc, 15^" 

by 12", No. 17. 

This print was exhibited 

in 1903, at the Rowland 

Club in Clifford's Inn, 

with the second version 

of London -Bridge and 

the Picardian Avenue. 

It was clear at once that 

a new etcher had come 

with a .vision hitherto 

unknown, and also with 

the beginnings of a 

technical equipment so 

much bolder than custom 

idolised that it would be 

to delicate writers on 

prints what a route 

march in rainy days has 

ever been to timid and 

dainty recruits. 

A Frenchman expressed very -well the revolution in etching foretold 
byi.Brangwyn's work between 1 903 and 1906. The difference 
between this work and other British etchings, he said, is as 
marked as the'difference between Fran9ois Millet and Leopold Robert; 
the- latter is full of good intentions ; the other is full of thorough 
rustic life and character: and most British etchers by Brangwyn's side, 
however desirable in their own ways, look rather small and out of 
place. These things happen when genius competes against charm- 
ing talents, for genius troubles the ease of a great many excellent 
persons. The " Assisi " is more than enough to trouble any etcher 
who attends to his work with as much deliberation and ceremony as 
a fashionable photographer. A difficult, manifold motif— historic 


architecture amid brilliant sunlight, with fine trees and a landscape 
nobly orchestrated by intense light and shade — is treated with vehe- 
ment joy as a bit of practice in experimental technique and printing. 
Most English etchers, when they make love to such a motif, seem to 
dress themselves in velvet and lace, in order to remember that "ex- 
quisiteness," sometimes called "noble daintiness," is the quality in prints 
that receives the largest measure of routine praise — and pelf. Well, 
there's nothing dainty in the Assisi. Every part of this etching is an 
adventure. The architecture is effective, for it stands out in lusty 
chiaroscuro against a sky toned by printing ; but yet it is only a distant 
forerunner of Brangwyn's later visions as a lover of great buildings. 
There is abundant study in the tree-trunks and their boughs and foliage, 
only in some impressions — I have one, an early and rare impression— 
the deep tones in masses run together overmuch into one mass, losing 
their graduated sequence of plane and purpose ; and shadowed portions 
of the buildings look unaired and unwarmed by reflected light and 
the sun's vibrating shimmer. Other impressions, including those with 
dry-point revision over the sky, are more aerial ; and the printing in all 
proofs that I have seen, various always, has been alive and original. 

2. A Turkish Cemetery at Scutari. i8|" by 175", No. 31, 1904. 

In its trial state — but only three impressions were printed — this fine 
sketch is in outline. Then the plate was rehandled and rebitten, 
and one may expect to see few better records of an artist's travels, 
so ably are the figures distributed in their proper planes; and a true 
sentiment puts mystery among the cypress trees and around and in 
the cemetery. I call it a sketch because it is pictorial in a way 
that suits a fortunate sketch, with those happy accidents that come 
to aesthetic emotion, and with that lack of "finish" that has the 
value of a genuine impromptu. Other ardent impressions in a 
kindred mood are two important Turks dallying with postponed 
business amid the hot shade under pleasant trees (No. 137, i6j" by 
124", 1908), and the Normanesque "Castello della Ziza at Palermo" 
(No. 30, 19" by 18", 1904), most valuable as architecture, and as a 
Brangwyn study, always free from those qualities that photographs 
give with detailed uniformity. A blend of Moorish elegance with the 
usual blunt massiveness of Norman building is well suggested ; a few 
shades are overstressed in some impressions; between the shadowed 
foreground, with its musicians, and the castle, a Sicilian festival is 
busy, a few lines and plots of tone suggesting a rustic dance that whirls. 


3- A Road at Montreuil-sur-Mer, No. 34, on zinc, 13^' by lOyo', 
1904. Etched on the spot from Nature, like "Mill Wheels, Mon- 
treuil" (No. 25)- 

I choose this proof at random from etched crojuis and other good 
work that Brano;\vvn has done at Montreuil, often out of doors, as 
in 1904 and 1907.' It is a jolly sketch, despite the low horizon, 
and we follow its road into 'the' happy moods that Brangwyn has 
had at this most pleasant hillside townlet, now nearly ten miles from 
the sea. "The Mill Bridge at Montreuil" (No. 33) is one sketch 
to be noted, and "The Gate of a Farm" (No. 90), an outdoor study, 
is another; but not quite so good in tone and charm as "A Hay- 
wain" (No. 97), or the deeply considered "Paper Mill" (No. 93), 
etched on the spot, to which we shall return in the chapter on 
Industrv and Labour. 

4. The Butcher's Shop, Wormwood Scrubbs, No. 46, on zinc, igg' 
by i8i', 1904. 

Here is the most impressive etching in Brangwyn's greater land- 
scapes, and onlv in Meryon do we find work so matter-ot-tact and 
yet so eerie and haunting. In 19 10 I tried to put into words the 
impression made bv those two vast old trees and their uncanny light- 
ing, by the butche'r who waits for we know not what, while curious 
figures behind peer out from a mysterious timber cabin. I wonder 
how Mervon would have been moved by this exceptional work; 
and also if he would have felt a somewhat akin to himself in two or 
three other Brangwvns: Houses at Barnard Castle (No. 53), tor 
example, and the de'ep, austere Porte de Gand at Bruges (No. 63), 
etched on the spot in 1906. And I am sure that Meryon would 
have liked to dream over that mysterious etching where men at 
night, aided somewhat bv the local glare of a lantern, unload great 
barrels of wine from a ship at Venice (No. 109). Brangwvn has 
done nothing better than this rich study in the distribution ot ^ light 
and dusk, arr and generous tone, unforced by any plot that is too 
dark or noisy. 

5. A group of minor etchings at Fumes, all done on the spot m 
1 908, tike the "Market Place" (No. 126) and "A Gateway" (No. 
127). They connect the popular life in street, market and cate, 
with the churches of St. Walburge and St. Nicholas. "The Apse 
of St. Walburge" (No. 120, 17' by 15') like "The Church ot St. 


Walburge" (No. 124), is among the more typical Brangwyns; it is 
peopled with most pleasant life, and abundantly toned and designed. 

6. A group of fine etchings at St. Cirq-la-Popie, all done between 
1 910 and 1 91 2. They were etched from Nature. 

Humorous sketching frolics in "The Mountebank" and "The Bear- 
Leaders" (Nos. 176 and 177), which are as good as two other swift 
croquis^ made in France and out of doors, "A Caravan at Albi" (No. 
i6g) and "A Farmer at Laroque" (No. 164), with its charming 
distance of climbing heights dappled here and there with trees and 
houses. There is so much body and vim in these wayfaring notes 
that they form a genre apart, as do Daumier's wit and the peculiar 
epic poem that Gavarni drew from townsfolk with his inimitable 
feeling for the heroic whimsies of mankind. Brangwyn has not done 
enough yet in the manner of his Mountebank and his Bear-Leaders. 
Laughter in etching, witty observation and satire, with good humour, 
are as welcome as they are uncommon. The mountebank's antic 
posture is a genuine "find," and the bears are well observed, though 
sketched with unusual swiftness. Let us welcome also, as examples 
of rapid sketching from Nature, "The Village Green of St. Cirq" 
(No. 165), " A Village Shop " (No. 1 83), and " A Street at St. Cirq " 
(No. 198), connecting them with such notes of hand as "A Cafe at 
Cahors" (No. 174), "A Beggar Musician, London" (No. 187), and 

"The River Lot at Vers" (No. 179). 
As for the greater etchings from the neigh- 
bourhood of St. Cirq, let me name three, 
beginning with some "Old Houses at St. Cirq " 
(No. 160, I of" by 141"). What a discovery 
of secluded architecture! Note the high walls, 
with a shuttered window here and there, as 
if masonry were cheaper than window-panes. 
Yet there's true hospitality in that light fan- 
tastic balcony suspended below shallow eaves, 
where wind cannot find room enough to make 
much noise. "On the Road to Figeac " (No. 
161), the companion plate, is as desirable. 
A quaint little hamlet finds refuge below a 
huge rock, whose age and weight are made 
real to us with freedom and a dominant 
ease. Equally good is a larger print, "A Cliff 


Village at St. Cirq" (No. 162), with stalwart trees, and a picturesque 
raised pathway, and a majestic rock, strata after strata, towering 
above those frail homes ! Romantic France, sometimes her own 
sweet enemy, is everyone's friend in the varied magic of her country 
scenes. Brangwyn understands her, and pretty often he has modified 
his art to please her, as in his war posters. 





t education were rational and 
national, if it were not botched 
by routine - mongers, children 
would be taught how to read 
history in the common useful 
that they ^ee all day long. There is a delightful tale, 
asjmerry as Peter Pan, in the evolution of every piece of house- 
hold furniture, from chairs and tables to beds and wardrobes ; 
and every room has another tale charmed with centuries of 
home. If children knew all the bewitchine stories that could 
and should he told about these good old things, and about many 
other mute historians, they would be educated as naturally as 
they grow; everything around them would help to make the past 
present and the distant near; thev would feel that the generations 
dead and gone ought to be always of their company. I know men 
who are thorough scholars in so far as books and cobwebs of the 
study can give and embellish learning, yet they know nothing at all 
about the evolution of handicrafts and architecture. One of them 
asked me to explain the difference between Gothic and Classic 
architecture, and to give him an example of each in London. He 
asked for this information as if such details, as a rule, were below 
the aspirations of a bookman deeply versed in Greek and Latin. 
And we are all quite ignorant of many precious enjoyments which 
ought to have been opened to us between our nursery years and our 
early teens. 

Windmills and watermills are among the many unread phases of 
social history that retain the past ages, here and there, in modernized 
towns and landscapes; retain the past ages, and at the same time 
enrich life and the arts in two different ways; by their own diversi- 
fied charm, and by many rich associations that we gather partly 
from them, partly from their history, and then add to the great 
paintings and prints that do justice to fine old buildings. Most of 
us are overapt to forget how variously the memories and the hearts 
of mankind enrich great art from their stores of recollections and 
associations. Just as the voices of larks and nightingales are forever 
beautified by the rapt praise of poets, to those who recall this praise 


verse by verse after the birds 
have sung, so every great picture 
inspired by things seen receives 
from a great many minds emotions 
that do not belong to its art, 
emotions emanating from studies 
or from personal experiences or 
from both. A great landscape 
in art is a landscape no more 
w^hen we add to its magic as art 
many sorrows and joys that blend 
our past years with its perman- 
ence ; and I note also another 
point in the spiritual intercourse 
between artists and the genera- 
tions. When George Eliot says 
that differences of taste break 
many a friendship, she forgets to add that these antagonisms come 
often — not from rivalries between'opposed temperaments and aesthetic 
feelings, but — from happenings of a private and personal sort which 
have given a bias to a mind's higher faculties. If as a boy you had 
been nearly drowned in a mill race, you would not be drawn by 
pleasure towards pictures of watermills, for instance, because memories 
of your fight for life against water hurrying to the wheel would 
tyrannize over the artist's intention, causing you to muddle a picture's 
presence by thinking of an unpleasant episode in your own past. 
Brangwyn must be fonder of windmills than of watermills, as he 
etches them with a much more attractive power and persuasion. No 
incident in his life comes between him and them, as an influence that 
alienates him from their historical shapes and romances. Perhaps he 
feels that most rivers are but make-believe in comparison with the 
sea and what he has experienced at sea under western and eastern 
skies and storms ; and certainly he is greatly moved by the down- 
right way in which windmills reach up to catch their motive-power, 
however keen a gale may be. Even his old ships, like the "Duncan" 
and "Britannia," are not felt with a truer and more affectionate 
touch than he gives to every part of a windmill, and above all to 
intricate vanes, which few artists have put in with the right sugges- 
tive blend of detailed fact and entertaining mystery. 
Again, who can be blind to the humanity that windmills display 

o 97 

during their toil ? They chatter, and they bicker, they grumble, they 
growl, they lose their temper ; and there are days of easy wind when 
they seem to be entirely pleased with themselves, like trade unionists 
who have gratified their devout belief in limiting their output as 
much as they can. Indeed, the history of windmills has been stored 
with a trade-unionism of its own, for men of science have estimated 
that a windmill on duty all the year through, for 365 days, would 
do only 120 days of hard work, owing to the wind's holiday making 
and variableness. And let me give in brief a few facts more that 
help us to unite Brangwyn's windmills, and every windmill in art, 
with history. 

Not one of Brangwyn's few windmills has a type that is regarded 
as typically medieval, though windmills, like wheelbarrows, have 
changed but little during their long history. Viollet-le-Duc describes 
the mediaeval windmill as a round tower with a conical roof and with 
four vanes and sails. Ruysdael's breezy picture at Amsterdam, 
known as "The Rhine near Wijk-By-Duurstede," has a round tower 
that is very high, and a coned roof that is low, and a timber gallery 
encircles the stone tower about half-way up. A tall doorway is 
entered from this gallery. Only one window is seen, but a fringe 
of arrow-slits for ventilation, if not once for defence as well, is placed 
on the topmost floor. Brangwyn's "Windmill at Dixmuden" (No. 
123, on zinc, 29!" by 211"), has a circular ground-plan, but with a 
strong octagonal feeling in it, and its roofing is a peculiar sort of 
patched beehive into which a Gothic liking for gables has found its 
way somehow. Its vanes, too, seem to be more complex than those 
in Ruysdael's mill, and a finer architectural taste has embellished the 
tower with purposeful ideas. Low Flemish cottages, tiled and white- 
washed, are close to this windmill, and a swineherd with his drove, 
after passing the mill on our right, enters the shaded part of a lively 
foreground. This etching is among the most pictorial that Brangwyn 
has published. Its windy sky is a painter's sky, and its manner 
throughout is so fat and fluent, so rich and ample, that it is almost 
succulent, although careful pointwork all over the windmill is ex- 

Some persons believe that round windmills were never a general 
vogue among Englishmen, as they seem to have been in medieval 
Holland and France, because of the old English fondness for 
gabled timber buildings. Such a gabled windmill is represented in 
a very famous manuscript of the fourteenth century, the Romanise 

of Alexander, in our Bodleian Library, where we find also a magnifi- 
cent watermill with a Double M roof, four decorated windows like 
those in church architecture, and three waterwheels following each 
other, all undershot. I know nothing to warrant the assumption that 
our medieval mills, whether driven by water or by wind, belonged 
usually to local styles of domestic architecture that our ancestors 
loved. Mills and their owners were not at all popular, and very 
often they were hated — and hated with sufficient reason too. No 
mill could be established without licence from the Crown; and, 
whether it was owned by a manor or by a monastery, it was a symbol 
of despotic power, everybody in its neighbourhood had to use it 
as an obligation. Mills, then, were very valuable property with 
oppressive customs and rights. In many cases they seem to have 
been attached to manors, and to have been transferred along with 
manors ; and by this means, many a time, they seem to have passed 
from laymen to monks. Often they were granted by the Crown to 
monasteries, and often they belonged to lords of manors and to the 
Crown. Some English watermills occupied the same sites from 
Saxon days to modern times, like the castle-mill and the king's-mill 
at Oxford, which are mentioned in Domesday survey, at which 
period also a mill at Dover was driven by the sea's flux and reflux. 
But the main point is that medieval mills were imperious monop- 
olies, and connected daily bread with much popular bitterness.* 
Often among the French these monopolies were upheld sternly, 
defaulters losing their corn and their carts and horses ; so it is not 
surprising to learn that many French watermills were placed for 
security on eyots, or at the end rf bridges easy to defend, and that 
they were often fortified, above all in Guienne, when our own fore- 
fathers ruled over this French province. A watermill here and there 
resisted long attacks, like the King's-mill at Carcassonne, which in 
1240 held at bay a biggish force commanded by Trencavel. Some 

* Thorold Rogers gives some useful facts : " The most important lay tenant of a manor 
was the miller. Every parish had its watermill — sometimes more than one, if there 
were a stream to turn the wheel — or a windmill, if there were no water. The mill 
was the lord's franchise, and the use of the manor mill was an obligation on the tenants. 
The lord, therefore, repaired the mill, the wheels, or the sails, and found — often a 
most costly purchase — the mill-stones. Sometimes the homage at the court baron 
supervises the contract with the local carpenter for the labour needed in constructing 
the mill wheel ; sometimes the jury of the court leet prosecutes the miller for using a 
false measure and for taking excessive toll. The miller figures in the legends and 
ballads of the time as the opulent villager, who is keen after his gains, and not over 
honest in the collection of them." — Six Centuries of Wert and IVages, chapter i. 


fortified watermills were noble buildings, as Leo Drouyn shows in 
his most ex'cellent book La Gulcnrie Militalre. And among English- 
men also mills provoked much social unrest, as during the fourteenth 
century, when useful handmills were invented as a protest against 
despotic watermills and windmills, and when monks and other mill- 
owners opposed the innovation with stern selfishness. But the 
people clung to their rightful purpose, declaring their will to use 
handmills without trouble from persecution; and time's mockery 

has laughed at the monks 
mills upon a nation or 
At Fountain's Abbev, 
an old abbey watermill 
dreds of years, for it 
of it was as old as the 
Oneot Brangwyn's water- 
doors — recalls to mind 
millers liked to be quite 
mills were safe against 
like etching called "The 
reuil-sur-Mer," where 
it is carefully boxed over, 
seems to be a descendant 
tom of hiding wheels 
ing weapons like man- 
boat down-stream. At 
thirteenth-century water- 
two great pointed cut- 
piers were built, then 
I like much to think of 
at Brangwyn's etching. 

who wished to force their 
archers and sportsmen. 
Yorkshire, for example, 
outlived its -^ owner hun- 
existed in 1850, and part 
reign of Henry theThird. 
mills — etched out ot 
those militant days when 
sure that they and their 
attack.'!.^' It is a Mer)^on- 
Mill Wheels at Mont- 
one wheel is not seen, as 
This enclosed wheel 
from the mediaeval cus- 
awav from stone-throw- 
gonels and from raids by 
Melun, for example, a 
wheel was built between 
waters upon which turret 
united by an arch ; and 
these matters when I look 
with its agitated water 

and its hidden wheel. Montreuil watermill appears also in another 
etching (No. 3:5, 14" by hI"), but here a timber tootbridge is the 
main motif. 

Many writers believe that the idea of building windmills came from 
the East with returning Crusaders, and it is certain that Norman 
windmills have been known always as Turquois. This popular nick- 
name appears in a document of 1408, and is still in use, I believe. 
Yet the windmill's origin remains obscure, a subject for useful dis- 
cussion. Some time in the twelfth century windmills appeared in 
France and England, and as early as our third Henry's reign they were 


used for various purposes. In 1251 three windmills were ordered 
to be built in the park at Guildford, one for hard corn, another for 
malt, and a third for fulling, just as the Dutch of to-day use wind- 
mills' for irrigation and also for draining swamps. Yet few persons 
regret the disappearance of windmills from our landscapes. Progress 
murders so many great old things that life is as new and as noisy as 
a growling aeroplane. Let us be just a little old-fashioned, then 
many permanent mills in art will be surrounded by what we can 
learn about the romantic history through which mills of all sorts 
have passed in Europe. 

Rembrandt's etched windmill, a beautiful synthetic drawing, is an 
idler, a windmill in the doldrums, hallowed with history. For a 
long' time it was regarded as Rembrandt's birthplace, as a small 
rustic cottage adjoins the mill; but modern research has proved, as 
in the work of Rammelman Elsevier, that the windmill run by 
Rembrandt's father was situated on a salient of the rampart in the 
town of Leyden itself, quite near to the White Gate (Witteport) ; 
that it was un moulin a dreche (or mill for malting) sur un des bras 
du Rhin; and that a drawing made by Bisschop in 1660 represents 
this windmill. Nearly two centuries later, in 1853, Bisschop's 
drawing was etched by Cornet, keeper of the museum at Leyden ; 
and another etching of the drawing was published by Charles Blanc 
in the first volume of his CEwore complet de Rembrandt* Yet truth 
can be very dull. Lucky were the good people who preceded the 
discovery of Bisschop's drawing, for they added to Rembrandt's 
etching their belief that they knew the home of their Master's 

A windmill in art, however fine as a line etching or as a pamtmg, 
does not attract me fully unless I am made to feel around it the 
pressure of wind and the spacious firmament of air. Rembrandt's 
etching brings a charming old windmill too near to us ; it needs the 
concordant and seductive romance with which his oil-painting of a 
windmill is environed and saturated. Brangwyn has no idler among 
his few windmills, and he turns their poetry into epics. Here is 
the Black Windmill at Winchelsea (No. 135), toned and glorified 
by sunset during a fine harvest season, with two groups of tired 
* This etching is most interesting. Imagine a round hut with a cone-shaped roof; 
cut off the top of this cone, then build upon it a tali wooden structure with a gabled 
roof : add four great vanes and their sails, and you have the Rembrandt windmill on 
the ramparts. The tower portion, though circular, is patterned into many angles, how 
many I cannot see, but more than an octagon, I believe. 


harvesters plodding across a pleasant foreground towards wooden 
rails on our right, which climb picturesquely up the mound to 
the great mill. On our left, beyond the semicircular mound, is a 
distant view of Winchelsea Flats, with a cornfield in cocks. A boy 
climbs the mound, his body standing up sharp against the sky. 
Boys will be boys, of course, but this lad is a trespasser in art, 
and I should like to see him displaced by a flock of homing birds, 
whose presence at different planes of the sky would increase the vast 
depth of space very finely suggested by a radiating sunset with 
clouds enough to keep us very near to a fanning wind. As for 
the windmill itself, we see it in a side view, with three of its great 
vanes ; and the radiance of sunset is all around its bulk, causing it 
to look almost spectral, almost translucent.* 

A much finer windmill, architecturally, with a smaller one, appears 
in "Windmills at Bruges" (No. 70, 20!" by i8|"). It was etched 
on the spot in 1906, two years before the Black Windmill at Win- 
chelsea. It stands on a hillock, its whole bulk cut out against a sky 
thronged with thunder clouds. But a gleam of sun breaks through 
these clouds and illumines one side of the mill, casting two bands of 
shadow from a massive vane across old timber, which is handled 
with Brangwyn's keen sympathy for weatherbeaten wood. Here is 
a mill of uncommon height, and its upper part or storey, just a little 
overhung on corbels, forms a most attractive Mansard roof — a hipped 
curb roof having on all sides two slopes, the lower one being steeper 
than the upper one. As Franfois Mansard or Mansart died in 1662, 
we may assume that this mill may be not much later than his time. 
The mill rests not on the ground but on triangular supports which 
seem to be somewhat more than a foot in width; so a considerable 
space under the n>ill can be used for storage. High up on the first floor 
is an entrance, flanked on our left side by a suspended lean-to, and 
connected with the ground by a fixed ladder, which tapers upwards 
from a wide base. At one spot, about half-way up, this rustic ladder 
must be rather difficult to mount with a sack of corn on one's back, 
for a curving beam passes through it from the hollow under the mill 
to a narrow trestle at the ladder's foot, where the beam is held up 
also by two posts fixed against it slantingly. There is a shuttered 
window above the entrance door, and another opening in a gabled 

* The poet Verhaeren was very much impressed by this etching. " Here is the 
fantastic Black Mill," he wrote, " ruling over plains and the heather ; clouds seem to 
make signs to it afar off through space." 


heroic scale, except in the wandering haphazard of their colonization. 
Must we believe that our natural fondness for cant and compromise 
strikes with atrophy that right and high sense of personal worth 
which candour nourishes and imagination fires with ardour? Fish- 
mongers' Hall, indeed ! and Rennie's mild bridge, which in less than 
fifty years was advertised in Parliament as too narrow for our city's 
traffic ! It's a terrible thing when a great nation prides herself not 
only on cant, but also on being pre-eminently practical, superlatively 
businesslike, or as rational as a chartered accountant. Her imagina- 
tion falls asleep, she fears audacious dignity, and tries to achieve 
greatness by creeping into it little by little, as she creeps into a big 
war. Not one of our London bridges represents our city's magni- 
tude as the Pont du Gard represents the fearless and massive enterprise 
of ancient Roman. 

Still, we have Fishmongers' Hall and New London Bridge, and the 
Hall is well placed in Brangwyn's etching. We see not too much 
of it; and some tall warehouses on our left, and that huo-e crane 
stretched out from one of them to a diligent steamer, are more 
typical by far of riverside energy and purpose, qualities which the 
etching shows also in a foreground simple and effective as desio-n 
and abundantly suggestive of those oddments that gather about 
quays and attract sympathy as emblems of hard toil. 
At first this etching was an outline only, or nearly so, only a little 
shade was put in sparingly here and there; and its pointwork being 
lightly bitten, the printing was grayish and restful, and many hinted 
matters of fact — row after row of windows, all alike, for instance — 
remained mute. This stage or state I like very much ; it mino-les 
quietness with briskness; but Brangwyn was not yet satisfied, and only 
six proofs were taken from his copper. Then change after change 
came; with much rebiting, until a lively and desirable sketch re- 
treated under massed light and shade. This painterly effect was not 
a brilliant success. The steamer grew darker, her smoke more abun- 
dant and coalish ; a murky opaque sky shut up the distance beyond 
Fishmongers' Hall ; and overmuch emphasis appeared elsewhere. 
Only one proof was taken of this laboured state ; it belongs to Mr. 
A. T. Gledhill, so the official Catalogue tells me. 
In its third state this etching lost its name and much of its copper, 
becoming Fishmongers' Hall (No. 50, 5" by yf). Under this name 
it was published as a gift in the "The Acorn," a quarterly review 
belonging to the Caradoc Press. To-day, says the Catalogue, "there 

P 105 


i^-',.- 'c 



■' -J- ^: -«■!.; 1 

are in the market a fair number of unsigned 
and inferior prints of this subject. Later the 
plate was bought back, retouched, and issued in 
a Hmited edition" — fifty proofs in all, and note- 

A partial failure ends one venture and begins 
another : so Brangwyn made a second attack on 
his motif, not in a skirmishing mood, but with 
that fine temper which Wellington described 
as hard pounding. The first venture was a 
reconnaissance only, and it uncovered some very 
stiff problems. Our Thames atmosphere, with 
its frequent magic of smoke and mist, makes a 
painter happy and an etcher ill at ease ; and 
when to this blurred atmosphere we add the 
mystery of line in riverside houses, barges, and 
shipping, we come face to face with an amalgam 
of difficulties outside the ordinary scope of etching. Meryon 
was aided by the neater and sharper atmosphere of the Seine, which 
amused the delicate vigour of his persuasive and decisive touch ; 
while Brangwyn has been troubled somewhat by the Thames, whose 
magic has appealed perhaps overmuch to the painter in his etched 
work. Though his second attack on the motif named London Bridge 
achieved much more than the first, it is not to me a victory all along 
the line ; it strikes me as being a drawn battle between his intention 
and his tools. 

Setting aside a trial proof in outline, this etching is known in three 
states, printed from copper measuring 215" by i6f". We see, then, 
that in order to encounter his motif on terms as even as he could 
choose, our artist greatly increased the size of his plate, though eleven 
inches square could not be deemed a poor battlefield. Important 
changes appear, the whole motif being reviewed and recast. The 
steamer has put on a bolder look, and another shows her tunnel 
plainly ; we see an abutment of our bridge, with part of an arch ; 
and in the middle distance more attention is given to riverside busi- 
ness and much less to riverside architecture. Indeed, the warehouses 
have almost disappeared, and that huge crane is lifted up towards 
the roof, becoming a minor thing now in a design full of smoking 
business ; and Fishmongers' Hall, more carefully studied, forms with 
the bridge an extended plot of sunned light, foiled by shadow over 


the glimpse of warehouses and across the middle 
distance. A sluggish cumulus cloud trails from 
behind the Hall and upwards, billowing until 
it seems almost to blend with much varied coal 
smoke belched from both steamers. Massive 
girders run across the foreground where eight 
or nine workmen take their ease and talk cosily 
as democrats with votes. 

It is said that this etching has four states, but 
a single trial proof is really a test, not a state, 
except to printsellers, whose minds bask among 
mysteries. To me, then, "London Bridge No. 
2" has three states, each with points of its own. 
There is much in the first state that I like best ; 
it retains many qualities of a good sketch, and 
the motif seems not grand enough for elaborated 
light and shade. Aquatint graining and foul 
biting play their parts well along the foreground of later states, but 
yet I prefer the hinted foreground in the first stage, with its light 
aquatint texture. 

Still, by means of technical experiments, Brangwyn gained much 
control over his tools. This fact is very noticeable in London Bridge 
No. 3, etched on copper like its forerunners ; it measures 21" by 16", 
and has no history of states. We are in a wharf below bridge, and 
most of the foreground is an orderly disorder of barrels, all suggested 
with first-rate skill. A cluster of barrels, grappled by thin chains to 
a suspended chain cable, has begun to rise, and beyond it is an empty 
barge lying close to a great warehouse, an apt and attractive building 
because it looks fit for its purpose. Boats are moored against a land- 
ing platform ; and beyond these boats, high up on our right, we see 
Fishmongers' Hall again, and a glimpse of Rennie's bridge. 
Here is a thorough Brangwyn, resonant, opulent, masterful; and it 
has certain qualities also that are controversial, qualities that come 
to those artists who prefer a decorative synthesis to any display 
in receding planes of meticulous perspective. When these certain 
qualities appear in etching, they are apt to show themselves as plots 
of uniformity in an orchestration that rules over relative values and 
the distribution of light, shade, and half-tone. But yet I must speak 
on this point with sufficient explanation. 
Decorative work ought to displace at least seventy-five per cent, oi 


easel pictures ; and I am equally sure that a big artist has a right to 
form a genre of his own in the management of light and shade, just 
as Gregory the Great had a right to introduce plain-song, or canto 
fermo, a noble kind of unisonous music, Brangwyn's etchings have 
plain-song qualities of their own, unisonous and massive; they remind 
us how alert he has ever been to the fact that painters are often 
called upon to find happy compromises between too little perspective, 
which is primitive and archaic, and too much perspective, which 
makes holes in our walls. A French artist writes on this matter as 
follows : — 

"On veut que la peinture murale, noble et belle, mais circonspecte, complete 
avant tout I'architecture qu'elle decore. Sereine et detachee de nos pre- 
occupations directes, elle a, dit-on, pour role de personnifier et de continuer, 
dans sa langue austere et muette, I'enseignement de la chaire ou I'idee de la 
loi. Elle poursuit, en le modifiant selon les sujets, le caractere auguste et 
impassible qu'elle a herite des Egyptiens, des Assyriens et des Grecs, dent 
parfois, de nos jours, elle emprunte encore les formules. Ainsi comprise, 
elle est certes digne d'admiration et de respect : sa gloire a traverse les 
siecles, mais elle est dependante d'un art jaloux de ses droits centre lequel 
elle s'est souvent revoltee pour prendre ses libertes d'allure, ne se conten- 
tant plus de celebrer des symboles et de balancer des lignes harmonieuses. 
Elle s'est alors franchement detachee de I'Architecture, qu'elle a animee sans 
s'y meler. Je ne crois pas que cette derniere y ait perdu. Car si pale, si 
effacee que soit une fresque, si elle n'dvite pas les ciels et les plans fuyants, 
elle troue les murailles et, comme Samson, ebranle I'edifice. . . ."* 

This is put with fairness, if we pass over the unphilosophic conven- 
tion of describing the painter's art as a perennial person that plans, 
meditates, achieves, and rebels. Confusion of thought comes as soon 
as writers forget that art is what good and great artists do from age 
to age. It is rubbish to say that the art of painting rebels against the 
discipline of architecture. The rebels are painters, often minor men 
so full of self that they cannot see how foolish it is to turn their art 
into a reckless courtesan dependent on chance buyers who visit shops, 
exhibitions, and auctions. Only five or six easel painters in a 
generation enjoy more than a fugitive vogue. The others as a rule 
waste their lives in producing baubles for an overstocked market, as 
if householders yearned to buy painted canvas fastened into gilt 
frames. Most painters would serve their country to much better 
purpose if they decorated homes with panels and friezes, and taught 

* Nos Peintres du Steele, par Jules Breton, pp. 225-26. 

the people how to furnish their rooms with courageous economy 
and good taste. More nonsense has been talked and written about 
easel painting than about any other artistical subject ; so persons of 
common sense rejoice when an artist of real genius, like Brangwyn, 
keeps constantly before his mind what qualities decorative design can 
and should make real, without drifting into archaism, or into a 
bloodless routine, like that by which Puvis de Chavannes enfeebled 
his seductive conceptions, after achieving in 1859, ^i^ opulent and 
noble work called "La Paix" (Musee d' Amiens). 
Nothing is more difficult to achieve than a wise compromise. Puvis 
de Chavannes, wishing to avoid overmuch perspective, turned his 
back not only on his natural self but also on Tintoret, Michelangelo, 
and other supreme masters of decoration; and then, with faint 
colours and a childlike ingenuousness, far-sought, and to some extent 
dear-bought, he tried to separate decorative art from human passion 
and the world's life and vigour.* As for Brangwyn, while wishing to 
avoid overmuch perspective, he lifts into decorative art our modern- 
ized industries, with much else from the outside welter of human 
realities, simply by giving what I called a plain-song orchestration to 
his management of values, perspective, and light and shadow. Often 
his compromise has a splendid allure, but yet it is easier to manage 
when paint or pastel is the medium. Then he and we can be happy 
in his original distinction as a brave and splendid colourist. Black 
and white being a convention by which the many-coloured magic 
of Nature is translated into lines and monochrome, all changes in 
those values that mark planes and receding space add another 
formalism to an art already opposed to our many-coloured world; 
and when this added formalism becomes very evident, a whole 
composition may lose the flow of a spontaneous rhythm, and may 
seem to be shut up and airless, like a tapestry in black and white, 
Brangwyn has never shut up his etchings, but occasionally I see 
and feel that his tone and his light and shade are somewhat too 

* He cut artists who questioned his later manner, never pardoning their just right to 
think and speak with becoming modesty and candour. With infinite pains he began by 
drawing his figures from the life; then he traced them, suppressing all detail. Afterwards 
he arranged and modified his composition by ringing changes with his tracings, which 
he placed side by side in experimental groups and combinations until he was pleased 
with their balance and their ingenuous beauty and allure. Very original and charming 
results were composed, but Puvis failed to see that his groups and their gestures 
were never animated by a sentiment which united them ail together in an action common 
to all 


succinct and uniform, somewhat too arbitrary towards relative 
values and planes.* 

Portaels said to me many a time: "Always verify your darkest 
shadows and your sparkling lights, because in all work they are likely 
to be overdone." What advice could be better.? And one point 
more. When etchings are deeply bitten, then printed in an ink not 
so brown as Turner's, over-emphasis not only may appear here and 
there, it may appear unnoticed by an etcher, who is trying to gratify 
an emotion that needs for its complete expression the magic of paint 
or pastel. Rembrandt, who etched often as a painter paints, some- 
times carried his light and shade — and particularly his shade artd his 
depth of local tint — into monochrome painting with an etching 
needle ; and what the greatest do with zest is not a thing for you or 
me to question, unless a too emphatic shadow or plot of deep tone 
invites criticism, not unlike a mistake in grammar made by a great 
writer. As a chess-player often loses a game by thinking too much 
of his own attack, so an artist's research along one line, when too 
ardent, leads to errors in other considerations. 

In Brangwyn's etching of "Brentford Bridge," another early print, 
we may watch a combat between his mood as a decorative painter 
and another mood aroused in his mind by the fact that he is at work 
with a point on the ground covering a zinc plate. His motif is a 
simple bridge of one arch, a cluster of houses fit to be honoured by 
good sketching, and a foreground with barges and a few figures, all 
in shade. In a study of this sort, blending the urban and urbane 
picturesque with commercial toil, one has no wish to feel that a skv 
and its technique are anything more than hinted, a distance left 
vague — and alluring because of its vagueness. But Brangwyn had 
observed a sudden effect of sunlight on an overcast day, and his sky 
even in his trial proofs had a tone which, I believe, invited too much 
attention. This tone was deepened into threatening clouds, and the 
foreground also was intensified, while a brilliant light shone with 

* I am speaking, of course, of the impressions which I have studied ; but the impressions 
vary much, as Henri Marcel points out, and no student can see all of them. 
Brangwyn never fails to store his shadows with enough animating detail, but in some 
impressions defective printing harms the etched workmanship. When a dark plot in 
natural chiaroscuro is side by side with a sunny and glowing plot, all detail in the bright- 
ness appears to be eaten up by the sun's radiance, while abundant veiled detail remains 
among the shaded parts, unless a shade marks a hole. For this reason Brangwyn 
studies every shadow that he etches, and as a rule, whenever it seems too dark, some- 
thing has gone wrong with the printing. 


concentrated warmth on Brentford Bridge and to less extent on the 
houses. As an exercise it is well worth while thus to play with 
dangers which few etchers would seek. Still, what appeals to me 
most of all is precisely that portion which is least sought after — 
Brentford Bridge and the experimental way in which the houses are 
resolved into an epitome of their own character. An alembicating 
touch is a rare thing among architectural etchers;* and as for re- 
search among problems of light and shade, its value depends, I suggest, 
not alone on an effect observed, but also on two other things — imag- 
inative feeling in a true artist, and the charm added by an apt effect 
to the appeal that a chosen motif possesses at all times, let the light 
and shade be either prosaic or epic. For the idea put into action by 
so many modernists, that purpose and effect deserve more attention 
than artistic pride and judgment in the choice of motifs, tends to 
banish from art the difficulties of selection, and to lower its devotees 
to acquired tastes very apt to go out of vogue. 
Brangwyn's light and shade are often musical with varied imagina- 

* We find it in Cotman, as in Prout's pencil drawings of Gothic architecture. 


tion, and it is only here and there that he dwells too long on a motif 
that has not enough in it to justify more work than a sketch needs. 
In "Brentford Bridge," as in several other early etchings, he is occu- 
pied more with a complicated effect than with its aesthetic value, 
unless I misjudge his versatility here ; and I give my opinion 
because a big man's work is likely to attract young students as much 
by its occasional errors as by its usual merits. 

"Old Kew Bridge" (No. 51, 15^" by 13"), belongs to the same year, 
1904; it is a good example of such heavy biting as one likes to see 
under mezzotint. It is less attractive than a coloured aquatint of the 
Gothic bridge at Barnard Castle (No. 56, 14" by loi^"), the music of a 
moonlight very well felt and orchestrated. Three years later Barnard 
Castle Bridge was etched again, this time on a much larger plate (22" 
by 174"), and the work was done out of doors. The qualities here are 
those of a searching study from Nature that does not pass from supple- 
ness into tightness. There is a generous feeling for historic stone- 
work and for the angled rhythm of the parapet ; and as for the two 
arches, only one is seen in full, with its ribbed belly, like those ribs 
in the Monnow Bridge, an old fortified structure at Monmouth. 
Barnard Castle Bridge is said to date from 1596, when its forerunner 
was destroyed during the insurrection led by the Earls of Westmore- 
land and Northumberland ; but its rebuilders kept the Gothic pointed 
arch and gave the bridge power enough to resist frequent floods on 
the Tees. Those " lost " archlets that strengthen the abutment and 
ease pressure on a ring of voussoirs, belong to the year 1771, when 
the bridge, after being seriously damaged by a huge flood, was re- 
paired and widened. A chapel used to stand on this Gothic bridge, 
just as a chapel stands now on Wakefield Bridge. Mediaeval pilgrims 
and wayfarers, often with bad roads and footpads to encounter, liked 
their bridges to be symbols of Mother Church and to throw out 
light from beacons after dark. Reformers and Puritans, followed 
by our modern highway authorities, scorned the sacred character 
that bridges long possessed, tearing down the cross or crucifix that 
graced a parapet midway between the abutments, and either desecrat- 
ing or pulling down the pontal chapels, chantries, and oratories. At 
Droitwich a high road passed through the bridge chapel, separating 
the congregation from the reading-desk and the pulpit. St. Thomas's 
Chapel on Bedford Bridge became Bunyan's gaol, and a small oratory 
on the bridge at Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, still extant, declined 
also into a "lock-up," and in 1887 it was a powder magazine. Yet 


X X 

H « 

0! 2 

O < 

^ 7, 

X « 

o o 

■s o 

« z 

,,- c 

a 5 

u w 

humbugs say that the Germanic elements of our mixed race have 
always been inactive. 

A bridge appears in Brangwyn's etching of the "The Parrot Inn at 
Dixmuden" (No. 131, 1908, 14I" by 2 if"),* but it is foreshortened or 
hindshortened so much that its office in the print is to conduct the eye 
to a picturesque old inn with an adorned gable, well placed among 
villagers who, six years before the war, took life not too seriously. 
Has Brangwyn noticed that all the words on this etched inn are up- 
side down? Two years later Brangwyn painted and etched from 
Nature a very notable old bridge near Taormina, called Alcantara, 
which is Arabic for The Bridge (No. 156, 165" by 13"). Its uneven 
parapet has a fine curving sweep, its round arches gape in the hot 
sun, and they are separated by such wide expanses of masonry that 
they seem to form a breakwater as well as a time-ravaged bridge, 
rising from the bed of one of those parched rivers which the rainy 
season in a few hours will turn into spates and torrents. Bad weather 
threatens in Brangwyn's etching, a grim storm cloud appearing 
suddenly on our left. A dark foreground accents the sunlight, which 
clasps the bridge, and a shallow river, and part of a forlorn old tree 
growing near the long abutment. 

"A Bridge at Bruges" (No. 166), also etched out of doors, dates 
from 19 10; it is among a few really small prints in Brangwyn's 
etched work that take their ease in Brangwyn's vigour. Here the 
metal plate measures only 6| inches by 5! inches, and a greal deal 
is achieved on it in a style that does not act as a tyrant over a small 
surface, though it is ample enough for a bigger plate. It is a style, 
too, that keeps the sketching charm so attractive in wayside jottings 
and travel studies — above all when architecture has to be hinted 
briefly and aptly. The sky and its tone are suggested with right 
sympathy ; houses and trees take their place with a naturalness free 
from over-emphasis ; and a pleasant bridge, with its tall gateway and 
its three arches — a wide central span flanked by two narrow openings, 
all round — could not well be better sketched with a rapid needle, 
though a little more water along the foreground would be welcome. 
It is a bridge with what is called an " ass's back," its roadway and 
parapet rising to the middle of their length, then shelving down to 
an abutment. This up-and-down movement is pretty steep, but 
much less so than in those Chinese bridges that sometimes need 
steps; or, again, than in many an old Spanish bridge, such as the 
* This plate was etched out of doors. 
Q > 113 

Puente de San Juan de las Abadesas at Gerona, and a longer and 
finer example over the Mi no, at Orense in Galicia. 
Brangwyn is very fond of the bridges at Albi, and I knov^^ not 
which, as a picture, is preferable — the high bridge, with its tall piers 
and round arches, or a barbarian bridge over the Tarn — one of seven 
pointed and uneven arches, with uncouth piers and cutwaters — 
whose erection, it is said, was arranged in 1035, at a great public 
meeting held by the Seigneur of Albi and the clergy. Brangwyn 
has painted these bridges and their fine surroundings, and has put 
them together into one of his finer etchings (No. 221, 191%^'' by 
24to")- ^ Gothic bridge at Espalion, as famed in controversy as 
Albi Bridge, is another recent etching done out of doors ; and it is 
printed with so much art that its general effect seems almost to unite 
the work, with mezzotint. Some brawny men along the foreground 
are washing skins, Espalion being famous for tanning, and I cannot 
say that I prefer them to the refreshing water and the historic 

Brangwyn's favourite medieval bridge is the Pont Valentre at 
Cahors, a fortified work of the thirteenth century, and a noble 
masterpiece, remarkable for its massive elegance or its elegant 
massiveness. But I have no right to speak of this monument as 
" it," a medieval knight among bridges being a genuine Sir, a great 
male in chivalric bridge-building. He appears in two of Brangwyn's 
etchings — a big one on zinc (No. 178, 32" by 21 J"), and a smaller 
one on copper (No. 189, gl" by 6|"). Both date from 191 1. The 
smaller print, rich, airy, velvety, romantic, shows the bridge almost 

in a front view, but partly hidden by trees 
on our right. It is good to note how this 
bridge crosses the Lot on his five vast piers 
and his six ogevale arches, with three proud 
towers, proof against all mediaeval attack, 
looking bold in their challenging sequence. 
As for the large print of Le Pont Valentre, 
it has two states, and in its second one a 
light sky is darkened; while the huge 
triangular piers, with their battlemented 
parapets, are freed from dark shadows and 
illumined with strong sunshine. We see 
the bridge from below and foreshortened 
by sharp perspective, with men at work, 


and certain details enable us to see how the arches were constructed. 
For example, each embattled pier has a transverse bay or passage on 
a level with the springing of every arch. Below this bay are three 
holes, and another row of holes runs across the arch's under surface 
beneath the springing. It was with the help of these bays and holes 
that simple and effective scaffolds were put up by thirteenth-century 
builders. For saplings were thrust through the holes till they jutted 
outside the piers; then they were covered with planks and used as 
platforms by workmen, and also as resting-places for barrow-loads of 
dressed stone, which were lifted up by movable cranes. Masons 
were served through the bay, and the centering or scaffold of an 
arch started out from those other holes that Brangwyn has noted in 
his etching. 

Good as this etching is, it is not better than "Le Pont Neuf, Paris," 
an august proof ; nor is it so well known as Brangwyn's vision of 
"The Bridge of Sighs" (No. i8i, ly^" by 27I"), an etching already so 
scarce that its price has risen to seventy guineas, if not higher. As 
an interpretation of architecture — not surface architecture, but the 
inner essence and the life of that petrified music which architecture 
either sings or orchestrates with varied charm — this print, with its 
two bridges and its Renaissance palace and surroundings, is one of 
the finer achievements by which Brangwyn has been placed among 
a few unique etchers — -men who stand apart from one another, each 
with a great style all his own, which every student ought to study, 
but which no student ought to copy, though study may lead to 
unstinted enthusiasm. According to some writers, " The Bridge of 
Sighs" does not represent its etcher typi- 
cally ; but variation from a type is as 
invaluable as auto-imitation is harmful. 
The most recent bridges in Brangwyn's 
etched work, apart from those at Albi and 
Espalion and " Le Pont Neuf," are " Le 
Pont Marie, Paris," a very desirable print; 
and the sunny, gracious Toledo, shimmer- 
ing through a haze of heat that makes 
it look almost unsubstantial. A great ad- 
vance separates these achievements from 
the first version of London Bridge, and 
also from the second. " Le Pont Neuf," 
I confess, has put me somewhat out of 

friends with Meryon's etching of the same bridge: Both artists 
identify themselves with the architecture, pictorial architecture, 
not noble enough for a citizen bridge ; but Brangwyn gives much 
more of its weight, and his broad symphony of light and shade 
has orchestral notes and tones, with glimpses of popular life. 



Is it a pity that Brangwyn has 
not yet done a few typical marine 
etchings? He remembers what 
J he learnt about the open sea, 
land tides and storms teem with 
those attributes of power and splendour by which his genius has 
always been fascinated. Some of his early sea pictures, translated 
into etching, would put an uncommon patriotism into our national 
prints, while renewing an admirable period in his enterprise. 
And another matter is worth consideration. Now and then a very 
rapid artist should seek an influence strong enough to be as a master 
to him, and the martinet sea keeps all men under discipline. There 
are times when Brangwyn forgets that powerful etchers, like wise 
rulers, must blend their vigour with persuasive tact. Of course, I 
am not thinking of his finer or greater etchings, wherein, as Emile 
Verhaeren said, an epic grandeur puts virility in its rightful place — 
the first. But, in a big man's life, the finer or greater etchings are 
never a great many. Legros told me, and allowed me to print his 
words, that quite two-thirds of his own etched work should be 
destroyed, as minor prints followed the major as persistent foes; but 
this self-criticism goes much too far — a great truth is overstated. 
Consider also the authentic prints even of Rembrandt's long record 
as an etcher, from 1629 to 1661 ; they number only 260, not by 
any means all of equal merit, and Brangwyn has etched in about 
half the time, almost the same number. No prolific etcher can 
keep watch with too much care over his minor prints, seeking for 
those that may do harm to his best achievements; and because some 
chosen land motifs give inadequate scope to Brangwyn's energy, an 
occasional return to his marines would benefit his etching — and our 
patriotism also. 

Though England has ever been our Lady of the Sea, British art has 
in it not much ocean, marine painters being few and far between. 
The sea is able to defeat most observation and technique, while land- 
scape and portraiture are often kind towards even second-rate men. 
To summon the sea into etching is even more difficult than to paint 
some of her marvels. Even Meryon, a retired naval officer, who 
had visited many far-off shores, sailing round the world, and 


sketching day after day in his leisure hours ; even this true sailor 
among artists of original genius etched no devouring waves. 
If Brangwyn tried as an etcher to collect visions of the open sea he 
would succeed, perhaps with the aid of aquatint, or with that of 
mezzotint ; and I am hoping that he will win some victories for us 
in blue water and among ocean tempests. Meantime, in a good many 
proofs, he has been a sailor ashore, revealing his fondness for barges, 
gondolas, boats, and his austere affection for big ships which human 
breakers destroy on shore. 

Barges, as we have seen, appear among his earliest etchings, and their 
long and even lines, with their flat, low-lying shapes, foil that ascen- 
sion — a soaring movement and rhythm — that Brangwyn delights to 
make real; as in "Barge-Builders, Brentford" (No. 20, 131" by 131", 
1904), where several trees in a group occupy so much space that 
their massed foliage seems like a protector watching over the barge- 
building. To produce this effect the etcher used aquatint, and 
students will note two moods and two methods, aquatint portions, 
with their ample breadth, contradicting much neat pointwork in 
several houses beyond the river. Such contradictions are most valu- 
able when we study an artist's manner and his temperamental bias 
and power. 

In "Barges, Bruges" (No. 60, 15" by 14", 1906), mood and manner 
are in easy unison, and produce some notes of that resonant dark 
colour which is often to Brangwyn's orchestration what the deepest 
notes are to bass and baritone singers. Barges are important in two 
other studies done at Bruges, both of delightful tone, where a pictur- 
esque brewery is sketched with a sportive touch and mystery. The 
larger print (No. 66, i8|" by 2o|") could not well be bettered. All 
seems to have come at once, to have grown out of the zinc plate, and 
as inevitably as patterns and colours come into the new plumage of 
moulting birds. The smaller plate is an etching on copper, eight by 
ten inches; a barge lies across the foreground, and I know not why 
so much attention is invited to a blank wall across the canal, with a 
tone about as light as the water's. 

"The Boatyard, Venice," sometimes called "Boatbuilders, Venice" 
(No. 112, 25!" by 20I", 1907), is among the fine Brangwyns, and 
some portions of it — above all some shuttered houses behind, with 
their weathered age and fluttering clothes drying outside inquisitive 
windows — belong to the finer Brangwyns. A gondola is being built; 
litter of many sorts lies around her; and sunlight on a hot day pours 


upon the houses and here and there into the yard, where men work as 
mildly as they can or dare. A shady and shadowed foreground, 
splashed musically with sunlight, is composed with facile knowledge, 
right accents distributed ably, and a discreet rhythm putting order 
into scattered timber and other oddments. It is an etchmg to live 
with as a daily chum. 

There is a print called "Barges at Nieuport," an etchmg on copper and 
small in size (7I" by 4"), that attracts me always as a cheerful sketch. 
Its pleasant sedgy river, with a cornfield and hinted trees beyond, is 
a fortunate impression ; and its old barges are old, their timber looks 
worn and aged, and I think of those adept pencil drawings by William 
Twopeny that give the age of so many historic things, from a twelfth- 
century house to Gothic ironwork. In the middle distance a woman 
stands on a small peninsula, keeping her place and plane ; and I note 
this point because in four or five good wayside jottings there are 
figures that look too outlined. Examples: "Old Houses at Dix- 
muden" (No. 121, yf by 6", 1908), and a "A Water Carrier" (No. 
130, 9" by 7"), another print with a barge in its design. 
A few etchings have very important names, though the subjects that 
these names ask us to see, are almost hidden by boats or barges. 
This joke has been noted by many writers. Frank Newbolt says, 
for instance: "'The Porte St. Croix at Bruges,' that massive struc- 
ture of town defence, is dwarfed by enormous barges"; and Henri 
Marcel is struck by the "Santa Maria della Salute" (No. 118), seen 
behind the masts and rigging of tall ships fastened to groups of piles. 
On our right a medley of picturesque anchors and cranes makes a 
complicated framing for Santa Maria, whose leaden domes stand out 
rather clearly against the sky. I like this genre. Not only does it 
blend architectural motifs with sailoring and commercial activities ; 
it suits Brangwyn, and discovers him as much as he discovers its 
charm and variety. 

And now we turn to those etchings where two opposed phases of in- 
dustrial work are revealed with poetry and unrivalled power. One 
phase shows how great ships are broken up ; and the other how they 

are built. 

Here we touch the subject of my next chapter, Brangwyn's attitude 
towards Industry and Labour, an attitude often so true and so original 
at its best, so charmed with rival qualities rarely found united in 
graphic and pictorial art, that it is probably the most varied and 
most modern epic of sweat and toil in etching, and also in black 


and white. But it is an attitude that appeals differently to its 

Emile Verhaeren stood outside it, fascinated, awed as a poet, and as 
a poet intimately familiar with Constantin Meunier, Brangwyn's 
great forerunner as an impassioned student of modernized labour and 
industry, A poet is often apt not to be a faithful interpreter because 
his own genius, moved by the work, it studies, begins to create ; and 
Verhaeren imagined that Brangwyn's later etchings and lithograph's 
of industrialism, while revealing the whole essence of contemporary 
toil, contradict the most impressive thing of all in to-day's business — 
the domination of imperious matter and machinery over the striking 
classes. In Brangwyn's earlier enterprise, we are told, mankind 
appeared to be of the lowest and compressed together in heaps. 
"At the feet of disembowelled ships, of haughty ruins, of thundering 
factories, men formed only a grouping of pigmies at work. All 
domination was reserved for imperious matter. But a change came 
as soon as modern workmen interested Frank Brangwyn. A sort of 
reversal took place in his manner of conceiving things. Scale and 
proportion were transformed, and man now rose up as a giant in the 
face of things. His gesture, his attitude, his bearing acquired a 
sudden importance and reigned over the entire work. Farmers, 
watermen, sawyers, bottle-washers, navvies, reapers, became to the 
artist's vision as monuments of force, ardour, violence and beauty." 
Here is Verhaeren's Brangwyn, but is it Brangwyn's Brangwyn, 
when we identify ourselves with his etchings and lithographs? No, 
not altogether. Only an inferior artist would be so unShakespearean 
as to belie his chosen motifs, to rob them ot their own significance, 
instead of revealing with comprehensive fervour their inner essence 
and their outward aspect, drama, and allure. It is because Brangwyn, 
at his best, is comprehensive towards industrial toil, grime, waste, 
conflict, and tragedy, that he achieves inspired truthfulness, with that 
impersonal and penetrative observation out of which all masterpieces 
come when human life and character are explored by artists and 

Verhaeren forgot that many a statement in words, which looks and 
sounds very well, is found to be absurd when it is called up into 
pictorial presence before a studying mind. At a time when labourers 
and artisans are becoming menials to huge machines, mere Gullivers 
in a Brobdingnag of portentous mechanisms, how is it possible for 
any artist to show that modern workmen have risen up as giants in 

1 20 

the face of things ? Verhaeren imagined that because Brangwyn 
etched a group of tall sawyers on a large plate, in a bold scale and 
with passion, therefore he wished to show that sawyers triumph 
over their toil and lot ; but handsawyers are busy on a job that 
machines do much better, far more swiftly, and at less cost ; hence 
they are inferior as workers to machines. They have gone down as 
workers and their machines have gone up and up. So their pride 
of craft — that inestimable boon to mankind which acts as healing 
cement in society — has dwindled and continues to dwindle, not 
among handsawyers only, but also among nearly all manual workers ; 
only an artisan here and there is a true handicraftsman whom 
machines cannot displace either partly or entirely. No wonder that 
the lust for strikes increases, while the old pride of craft diminishes ; 
and no wonder that social tendencies everywhere are towards dis- 
integration — empires dissolving into separated states, and nations 
into noisy factions misled by fraudulent catchwords. For pride of 
craft is not only as healing cement to society, it is also a self-esteem, 
so just and necessary that it puts imperishable soul into human toil. 
Even genius, that inevitable ruler over social enterprise as over all 
enduring work, after inventing and perfecting its vast industrial 
mechanisms, is often ensnared and held in bondage by its own 
achievements and their intricate ramifications ; and thus we have all 
observed since 19 14 that not even patriotism during a thousandfold 
tremendous war has been able to liberate into action any such genius 
among the belligerent nations as could use enormous mechanisms as 
a great chess player uses each of his pieces. And all this very sinister 
and tragic history, plucked from the strife of machine-governed 
industrialism and from War's blood and valour, is the motive of 
Brangwyn's unrivalled attitude as an artist — or, in plainer words, as 
a man of genius who reveals but never preaches — towards mechanical 
Industry, Labour, and Armed Conflict. 

Though he never preaches, turning his best work from a revelation 
into a pulpit and a social sermon, there are moments — not frequent 
moments — when he gives to an industrial etching or a lithograph 
a depth of irony or satire that I find too painful. This irony or 
satire appears in one way only : men toiling at jobs below the needs 
of their dignity as men of the twentieth century a.d. are shown in 
a scale too vast for the print surface around them, so they are 
brought too near to our eyes as by a magnifying-lens. In " The 
Tow-Rope," for example, a most poignant etching, as true as great 

R 121 

sorrow, the five poor wastrels harnessed to a barge unseen occupy 
so much of the print that a background of great old houses has to 
be guessed almost. It does not matter when six platelayers are 
epitomised in this magnifying scale, because, although many machines 
do far more wonderful work than platelayers do automatically, there 
is nothing too hurtful to human dignity in their position as labourers 
toiling for a railway. They cannot take rank with those village 
craftsmen who, without help from architects, dappled England with 
those fine cottages and farm buildings which architects of to-day 
study, and which are different in most counties ; but they are not 
industrialised by tyrannous machines into evident outcasts from 
mankind's improvement. It is by brains and character that ordinary 
men must be weighed in the scale of progress. 

Emile Verhaeren misread the significance of this ironic scale, just as 
Victor Hugo misread Frangois Millet's " Semeur." Greatly stirred 
by this emphatic sower, Hugo said that the peasant's gesture 
" voudrait s'etendre jusquaux etoiles " — wished to reach as far as the 
stars ; but ideas fit for an ode by Hugo are not ideas inevitably fit 
for a picture. Millet's peasant has no wish to be astronomical : his 
gesture has the monotone of a tiring job, and seed falls close by his 
feet, where furrows gape for its coming. Still, Verhaeren wrote 
nobly about several aspects of Brangwyn's genius ; above all when 
he rebuked those artists and writers who think that a hesitating and 
frigid examination is all that they need give to Brangwyn's etched 
work, as if to put out its fire with their frost and ice. 
And Verhaeren was right to warn his readers that Brangwyn's 
etching at a first glance astounds more often than it reassures, its 
artist being among those who capture, not among those who beguile 
or employ a seductive vogue. To all who know not the industrial 
phases through which Brangwyn has developed his way, etchings of 
barges, boats, hulks, and shipbuilding are invaluable as an apprentice- 
ship. Not only are they less imperious than many others, they 
appeal also to the waterman in our national character ; and thus 
they help new students to understand that kindred enthusiasm alone 
is able to discover in an original artist his cardinal merits. 
Sir Joshua Reynolds withheld much of this sympathy from even 
Rembrandt and Poussin, declaring that they, in their composition 
and management of light and shade, "run into contrary extremes, and 
that it is difficult to determine which is the more reprehensible, both 
being equally distant from the demands of Nature and the purposes 


of art." And another Academician, Opie, spoke of Rembrandt as 
"foremost among those who in the opinion of some critics cut the 
knot instead of untying it, and burglariously enter the temple of 
Fame by the window." How silly it is thus to be a fool towards the 
great! In January, 191 2, when about eighty Brangwyn etchings 
were exhibited in Paris by the French Government, Verhaeren 
noticed that the work prevented critics from employing their stock 
phrases. "Quelques uns se sont tus, d'autres ont approuve banale- 
ment. Aucun n'a hausse le ton comme il le fallait. On a employe 
les flutes et les clarinettes, mais les orgues n'ont point chante. 
Or ce sont elles qu'on eut aime entendre. . . . Meme les artistes ne 
se sont point emus; ils n'ont point compris la le9on apre et ferme 
qu'on leur donnait."* True, many an artist has no wish to under- 
stand the sharp and steady lesson that Brangwyn's finer etchings 
plainly teach. 

"Building a Ship" (No. 195, 3 5*" by 27 J") is an etching that appeals — 
or should appeal — to everyone. The gigantic skeleton and its upright 
scaffolding are made real with consummate ease, and surrounded with 
an atmosphere that beats and throbs with multiform labour. A storm 
grows up from behind some distant factories, but there's sun enough 
to multiply the skeleton's huge ribs with some shadows thrown 
by upright and slanting props. How minute are the men at work 
high up on this tremendous vessel ! In the foreground some men in a 
line toil rhythmically, strapping fellows with characters that mark 
their attitudes, and they are but pigmies beside this embryo liner, 
which already has weight and power enough to ride out a storm on 
land without much peril. This etching was evoked in 19 12, and I 
like to compare it with an earlier one, "A Shipbuilding Yard " 
(No. 26, 1904, 23!" by 17!'% showing a stern fight between our 
artist and his materials. The plate was rebitten again and again, 
then scraped, then burnished, and so forth, until it had seen three 
states, apart from some trial impressions. Its published state has 
dour, robust qualities; it is a battle fought to a fine stalemate, while 
the later etching is a battle won with ease, like a quite recent plate, 
"Building a New Bridge at Montauban." 

• " Some held their tongues, others approved lukewarmly. Not one pitched his tone 
high enough. Flutes were employed and clarinets, but no organs sang, though it was 
they that one wished to hear. . . . Even artists were not at all moved ; they had no 
inkling of the lesson sharp and steady that was given to them." 


As for the demolition of great ships, it is well for students to study 
these etchings chronologically: 

1. Breaking-up H.M.S. "Hannibal," a wooden screw-ship of the line, 
built in 1854, with only 450 horse-power engines. In 1905 she 
was torn into fragments at Charlton, Woolwich, and Brangwyn's 
etching shows her completely stranded in Castles' shipyard, with a 
heavy list, and tiny men at work around her body. The hulk is 
brought too close to my eyes, occupying so much of a large plate 
(24I" by igi") that I cannot see her poetry because I see overmuch 
of her bulk. In 1838, when Turner painted "The Fighting 
' Temeraire ' towed to her Last Berth to be broken up," he was 
governed by that enchanted modesty which places the elements of 
poetry in their right places and in their proper scale. "The Teme- 
raire" and her paddle-wheel tug are surrounded by a great seascape 
and a visiting sunset, yet they are all the world to anyone who loves 
our Navy and the sea as Turner loved them. As a big study full of 
apt concentration, Brangwyn's "Hannibal" is very good; but yet . . . 
It seems to me that he ought to have achieved more because his 
emotion was all of a piece with Turner's. 

2. Breaking-up the "Caledonia," formerly H.M.S. "Impregnable," 
built at Chatham between 1802 and 18 10. In 1816 this old battleship 
helped to bombard Algiers, receiving no fewer than three hundred 
shots, and some of these shots were found in her when she was 
pulled to pieces. The etching was made in 1906; it measures 31!" 
by 2 1 J". Here is a composition with four horizontal planes. In 
its foreground, running from our right across more than half the 
plate, are some floating jetties. Beyond, in the middle distance, is 
a merchantman used as a jetty alongside the battleship ; and towering 
above the greater part of this merchantman is the "Caledonia" glow- 
ing with sunlight. Then on our right, past the battleship's bow, is 
another plane, a distant view of smoking factories with the murk 
that London often gathers to herself It is an etching full of light, 
bravely composed, with fine textures and a lofty sentiment. 

3. Breaking-up "The 'Duncan,'" etched in 1912 on a zinc plate 32i" 
by 2 1 1". 

Here is another battleship, but of later date; she was commissioned 
for the first time on All Fools' Day of 1871, becoming flagship at 


Sheerness. She was demolished in Castles' Yard at Woolwich, and 
Brangwyn represents her in flying perspective with her stern towards 
us, and great portholes like sorrowful eyes giving an uncanny pathos 
to'this derelict of our sea power. The upper part of her body has 
gone, and upright portions of the skeleton cut out against a London 
sky ' Huge cranes extend towards and above her, and there is dis- 
tance enough to keep the "Duncan" from being tyrannously big in 
relation to the print's whole surface. Though all is ample and 
abundant, the plate has mystery with infinity. A feeling for 
grandeur is present everywhere, except in those poor midgets who 
toil around and upon the ship, undoing what other poor midgets 
put together, in our Brobdingnag of machines. 

4 " Breaking-up The ' Britannia' " is among the most recent etchings, 
and it cannot be studied enough. No words of mine could give a fair 
idea of its fervent and seamanly charm. A fine impression is beautiful 
with a velvety technique in which vigour and weight and mystery 
compose an amalgam of good fortune ; and the mystery here extends 
to a warm sky. What other artist has done similar work with such 
grip, such penetration, such breadth of power and vision ? 
Pennell is equally moved by industrialism, only his touch lacks body 
and weight, he reveals seldom the essence of things. A little-known 
Frenchman of the last century, Bonhomme, painter and lithographer 
of forges, factories, and miners, heralded Brangwyn like Constantin 
Meunier ; but is there even one artist whom Brangwyn resembles 
or who at times resembles Brangwyn? William Ritter believes, 
with just a bit of reason, that Mehoffer does, here and there, in a 
drawing, though Brangwyn na rieii de harbare ou de tartare comme Me- 
hoffer. "Verhaeren believed that Brangwyn had chosen Rembrandt for 
his esthetic guide and his spiritual master. "One cannot remember 
the one without considering the other, as one cannot remember 
Delacroix without thinking of Rubens or of Rubens without think- 
ing of Veronese." Yet there is not much resemblance between 
Branawyn and Rembrandt. Both feel the Gospel story as their 
contemporary among humble folk, and both are often drawn towards 
ugly faces. Rembrandt's cardinal marks are brooding concentration, 
wondrous patience and pathos, and a divination as gracious as that 
which mothers feel and show. In some moods Brangwyn is near to 
Peter Breughel, while in others he is much nearer to Rubens than 
to Rembrandt, for both achieve without long concentration, with 


prodigious energy and speed, and a passion for sumptuous colour. If 
Brangwyn tried to etch with minute breadth, as Rembrandt needled 
in the labyrinthine technique of his "Three Trees," he would feel 
like an athlete caught in a net and held fast. But he would paint 
with zest such a picture as "A Boar-Hunt" by Rubens. 



[nly a few F. B. etchings are un- 
lassociated with industrial enter- 
prise or with la vie populaire ; but 
I have now to speak of those that 
[depict individualworkmen at their 
jobs, just as an artist of the fourteenth century illustrated "The 
Romance of Alexander" with cooks and cooking, smiths and forging, 
bakers at their work, chariots and their drivers, mills and millers 
also, and many popular amusements, from tumblers and jugglers to 
performing bears and apes. Tanners and barkstrippers, as we have 
seen (pp. 80, 82), appeared in apprentice etchings (No. 6 and No. 8), 
and barge-builders also (No. 20), like shipbuilders (No. 26); but 
here is a perspective of brickmakers hard at work near their low 
sheds. They handle their bricks cleverly, and stooping all day long 
has produced over-developed muscles across their shoulders. It is a 
large etching (No. 38, 22f" by iqI"), and attacked with almost as 
much energy as Michelangelo poured forth when he chipped marble. 
Weighty things rest on weighty earth ; and every man's clothes 
hang in those stiff folds into which rough materials settle when they 
are often splashed with wet mud or clay, and frequently drenched 
with rain and sweat. One man looks over his shoulder, but his face 
holds me less than his posture, with its physical character and vigour. 
Textures of many sorts add variety to swift and sure workmanship ; 
and here and there, as under those low roofs, deep cross-hatching 
nets enough air and light to keep the darks from looking shut up 
and solid. How different in mood and manner is an etching called 
"Scaffolding at South Kensington!" It is a small print, not more 
than five inches by seven; and though one cannot put it among the 
finer Brangwyns, it has the charm of a rapid sketch, fresh and free, 
with a decision tempered by delicacy. 

Brangwyn is a master of scaffolding. To me his effects are better 
even than those of another master, Muirhead Bone, who is equally 
alert and wide-awake to the elusive architecture that tall and intricate 
scaffolds imply, and whose style is vivacious and meditative, if some- 
what matter-of-fact. When Brangwyn shows how a bridge is built 
at Montauban, etching on a large plate direct from Nature (No. 221), 


or how the Victoria and Albert Museum looked in its embryonic 
stage, all the matter-of-fact goes up with huge scaffolds into rough 
poetry, and stress and strain of building enterprise are present with 
their weight and energy, their toilers and their mechanisms. 
And now we arrive at a deeply serious and meditated work, "A Coal 
Mine" (No. 59, 19" by 245"). There has been an explosion and 
colliers in two groups— one in shade, and one in vivid light — are 
bearing away a wounded comrade. Two tree-trunks, upright, tall and 
boldly modelled, grow between us and a fine pithead, one part of 
which rises like scaffolding around a tower. Smoke in soft waves 
resembling shredded tow, as if from huge torches, curls up to the 
pithead and licks around its timber. Behind is a uniform sky with 
a technique that does not appear in any other Brangwyn. It seems 
to have been scratched horizontally with a fine metal comb, then 
bitten by mild acid; and from this process comes a monotone sky 
that looks well in a tragic episode. Everywhere this etching is con- 
templative, it has distinction, like Meunier's "Colliers waiting to go 
Below"; and these and other qualities make it a maturer work than 
"Some Miners" (No. 87), a rugged study etched on zinc from the life. 
"Bottle- Washers at Bruges" (No. 61) is one of those Brangwyns 
with coloured high lights ; here sunlight comes through green glass 
and suffuses a greeny tint over a workman, his bottle and his round 
tub. The effect is original and charming; it enriches with a diffused 
glow the chiaroscuro and gives us a good example of Brangwyn's art 
as a printer.* Henri Marcel says very well: "It is not alone in 
a line more or less soft that he finds expression, and not alone by 
careful observation of his acid and its biting that he graduates his 
linear appeal ; these things are merely a fraction of a complete pro- 
cess in which inks and their preparation and printing and its subtleties 
play a highly important part. I have alluded elsewhere to his 
method of getting atmosphere in his plates by employing a surface 
made with diluted ink, either spread or wiped off to make an effect 
that he desires. Brangwyn knows very well to what extent inequali- 
ties of pressure that his print undergoes are able to give unexpected 
aspects and peculiar beauties to various proofs. Aided by this 
process, and also by diversely tinted papers, he produces differences 
between proof and proof, which endow each with an interest and a 

* Like a good many of the large plates, these " Bottle-Washers at Bruges " were etched 
on the spot, direct from Nature. In this case the spot was a wine-faker's place of 


charm of deliberate artistic 
intention, making it almost, 
as valuable as an original." 
True: and ivr iters have reason 
to be uneasy. They cannot see 
all the varied pi'oofs from each 
plate, and their views on one 
impression may he contradictea 
by your just views on another* 
Here is a light brown print 
etched out ot doors, very long 
and narrow (No. 68, 20" by 
6|"), called "The End of a 
Day at Mortlake"; it repre- 
sents, with true rusticity, 
some farm labourers returning 
homeward, with filled sacks 
behind them, some heavy 
sacks, while two are light 
enough to be easy on tired 
backs. There's a capital im- 
pression of Hodge's walking, 
the plod-plod of peasants, a 
series of different movements 
making a single, half-limping, 



but rhythmic stride, that reveals how jaded peasants tramp over 
ploughed land. Every touch is free and swift, negligently wise, so 
this long print is a most welcome sketch. Perhaps a low horizon 
is too low, and I wish that two sacks did not touch the plate's 
top-edge. Just a bit of sky above all the sacks would enlarge a 
happy fortunate design, which, with but little change in its group- 
ing, would make as good a frieze as one would wish to see, like 
F. B.'s lithograph of Arab fruit-carriers. 
"A Tanpit, Bruges" (No. 76), also etched from Nature, is a very 

* The best impressions of the earlier etchings were printed by Brangwyn himself, and 
everyone who has seen two prints, one by Brangwyn and one by an ordinary skilled 
printer, must have been struck by the great superiority of F. B.'s printing. In recent 
work his plates are usually etched for an ordinary skilled printer who has a right feeling 
for the etcher's guidance. Often a light undertone is put on the metal plate with acid 
and in a manner which, I believe, no other etcher used until Brangwyn thought of it 
and made experiments. 

s 129 

muscular sketch, its handling nervous, lean and 
keen, like a rough Spanish mule well seasoned 
by long journeys through dust and heat. It 
shows how an unpleasant job acts variously on 
the bodies of three tall men, rawboned fellows, 
with gristle as tough as whalebone, and muscles 
that seem to be proud of their alertness. Two 
of these men with long poles are probing for 
skins, while their companion — a long-bodied 
Fleming with a small waist, powerful shoulders 
and arms rather misshapen by too much exercise 
— lifts a hide from the vat. So exact and swift 
is the observation that we may dare to speak of 
it as quite medical ; and we may dare also to add 
that its impression of generalized truth seems to 
include the penetrative reek that visitors y^^/ in 
tanpits. Under Brangwyn's hands these workmen have grown, as 
usual, and one fellow's head nearly touches a big plate's top-edge. 
This growth comes as naturally to Brangwyn's genius as upward 
growth comes to plants and trees; but sometimes it troubles good 
workmanship, as in two plates of "Skinscrapers" (Nos. 79 and 80), 
both etched on copper, both charmed with earnest modelling, and 
both small, but abundant in weight and scale. 

Very pleasant are the soft ripe tone and earnest workmanship in 
two certificates etched on copper — one a certificate for the Shipping 
Federation, and one for the Master Shipwrights' Company. These 
thoughtful plates are foiled by another big plate etched from Nature, 
"Bootmakers at Montreuil" (No. 92, 21 5" by 17-^", 1907) — a 
vivacious croqiiis, true to rustic manners. One bootmaker, a fat 
man, seated at his littered bench, works methodically almost from 
dawn to dusk, never takes any exercise out of doors, and comforts 
a congenital thirst as often as he can. He lets himself be shaved 
perhaps twice a week, for a chat with his barber enters into every 
week's routine. His two companions are not so well characterized; 
perhaps they belong more to F. B. than to Dame Nature in France. 
A witty frieze of old boots above the men's heads comes from 
humorous observation. But my favourite etching in the Montreuil 
series of working life is "A Paper Mill " (No. 93), admirably studied 
at first hand, with a complex light and shade that could not well be 
bettered. A golden light plays in upon huge grinding stones and 


some busy workers, who keep their small size neat- 
big machinery and under great beams. Another 
good print is "Men in a Bakehouse, Montreuil." 
As for " The Blacksmiths" (No. 94), a big, jolly, 
bouncing sketch from the life, it adds nothing 
new to its artist's research and progress ; unlike 
No. 107, where a throng of men leave a London 
shipyard, while another shift continues work 
on great scaffolding behind. Here motif and 
plate are large together, and the men's faces are 
thoughtfully studied without detaching them 
from their planes in the mystery of a crowd. 
Fine as this etching is, it lacks certain riper 
qualities which are present and persuasive in 
"Old Hammersmith" (No. 128) — qualities in 
which keen vigour accompanies coaxing re- 
search and patient and elusive tact, while 
charming us with a magnificent display of light, shade and tone, free 
from assertive accents. Workmen lounge along a good foreground 
and in open-air shade; others are busy with their horses in a sunny 
middle distance; and behind them a fine old house, partly shaded by 
a fan-shaped tree, is transformed into a factory, now beautifully 
aglow with sunlight. All is excellent: rude where rudeness tells, 
delicate where delicacy is needed, as among the horses; and note 
also how happy and lofty is the feeling with which that house is 
understood. And the tree is very well seen and felt, and the sky has 
lightness and mystery. One has an inkling that Brangwyn not only 
loved but feared this intricate and sunny motif — feared it enough to 
treat it with tender patience and respect, lest he should lose it in a 
fiasco. Can he return too often to this technical inspiration? I 
think not. It chastens two of his familiar qualities — formidable 
dash and insistent push — as in "Men Rowing on a Lighter" (No. 73) 
and "The Sawyers" (No. 43). An artist multiplies himself by 
being unlike his usual appeal. 

" Men in a Bakehouse at Montreuil" (No. 132) comes from a mood 
rather similar to that of the seductive " Paper M ill " (p. 130); and here 
is the well-known " Sandshoot " (No. 138), rivalling Whistler in 
touch, and a Brangwyn through and through in weight and com- 
position, like a kindred sketch, " The Ballisteria at Inchville " (No. 
141), with its quaint locomotive and its puffing machinery. And 

what of "Unloading Bricks at Ghent " (No. 140)? It has humour, 
atmosphere, mystery, with vivacious richness ; and it brings us in 
touch again with a technical mood reminiscent of " Old Hammer- 
smith." The gray, vague, wise old church behind is most difficult 
and delicate for an etcher to suggest, being an epitome of distant 
Gothic veiled by sunny haze. Yet Brangwyn has got pretty near 
to a perfect rendering. And what could be more apt than this 
foreground, with workmen on different levels ? I am not sure that 
they look like Belgians, these men of Ghent ; but is there any 
conclusive reason why they should .? That old toper in a tall hat, 
bottle and glass lovingly clasped, gets rid of nationality ; he is 
cosmopolitan enough to form here a very popular thing — a League 
of Nations, with Falstaff as patron saint. 

I know not what to say about another print, an uncommon aquatint 
of "Stevedores" (No. 190). Is it a practical joke? Did Brangwyn's 
humour wish to be more than current with the passing moments of 
post-Impressionism ? However this may be, I prefer his appealing 
mood in "Old Roadsweepers at Hammersmith" (No. 192), a 
heartfelt impression from our streets. Here we feel the tears of 
things. Some slapdash writers have said that Brangwyn has not 
felt sorrow as poets feel it — as an atmosphere surrounding all animate 
life, and needing as a counterpoise two divine things, sunshine and 
harmony in every home. These " Old Roadsweepers " come from 
the heart ; their sorrow is a genuine pathos that gives alms to their 
loneliness, and I am almost startled by the contrast between them and 
the rough electrical energy of "Boatmen Hauling at a Rope" (No. yj). 
Let us pass on to a few etchings which have not yet been catalogued, 
and among them a "Tannery at Parthenay" (No. 202, g}^^" by 7W')i 
with its gray wealth of tone and its most fortunate sympathy of 
touch and outlook. An etching of this humble size, after so many 
which are either big or bigger, is like a pleasant fireside chat after 
much public speaking ; and this good " Tannery " has several good 
companion prints, all uncatalogued, and all done in France, like 
"Wash-houses at Parthenay" (No. 211, 9I" by 11"). A good 
English motif, and a good Brangwyn, is the " Demolition of our 
General Post Office" (No. 212), a large plate, nearly 31 inches by 
26 inches. It is good enough to placate the ghost of poor Sir Robert 
Smirke, who built the G.P.O., as well as the British Museum and 
King's College, London. Brangwyn is always at home in demoli- 
tions and building enterprises. 


It needs rare courage thus to try with a needle on metal plates to 
call up into art huge impressions from modernized mechanics and 
labour. To think of seeking this adventure would cause most other 
etchers to feel uneasy, if not ineffectual, and even Brangwyn here and 
there has reacted against the stress and strain, not feebly, but in jaded 
spurts like those that good soldiers make at the fag end of a long 
forced march. In these moods he may outdo his usual fondness for 
extensive plates, and he did so when he chose as a motif his " Hop- 
pickers inside Cannon Street Station" (No. 207). In this work his 
zinc measures not less than 37I" by 25". In 191 1, when he etched 
Cannon Street Station from outside, and achieved one of his best 
works, his plate was a necessary tool, though it measured twenty- 
nine inches by twenty-eight. The later Cannon Street does not 
attract me, though some parts of it are largely handled within the 
scale of a huge improvisation. 

About forty years ago a professional Hercules named Gregory, famed 
among the strongest men that ever lived, told my father that one 
sorrow had been present always in his prosperous life ; he was 
devoted to children, yet afraid to embrace them, as he knew not how 
powerful his love would be. " If I took my own boys and girls 
into my arms," he said, " I might crush them." 

Now there are times when Brangwyn reminds me just a little of this 
Hercules ; times when he does some harm to his art by pouring into 
it overmuch energy — overmuch for me, though I like to make my 
home among the most manly artists and authors. To me there's an 
excess of energy in another recent plate, a work of imagination sug- 
gested by Nature, yet much nearer to Darwin's "Descent of Man" 
than to any work that Brangwyn's 
variousness has produced hitherto. 
It is called " The Swineherd " (No. 
215, 15I" by 1 1 1"), and its concep- 
tion is as aboriginal as it is original, 
almost within Caliban's own province. 
With enough meditation it would 
become as primitive as primitive 
man, a complete revelation of bar- 
barism. Brangwyn sees the whole 
thing as a vision, and ravishes what 
he sees into a great suggestion on 
metal, where he :leaves it to be 

'"-• JS^'^Nj^.W / 


matured later. On the outskirts of a neglected glade is a group 
of three stunted trees with their drooping foliage; and beyond them 
we see the glade and a forest, then a sky as dull as dried leaves. A 
fat sow with her litter has set up her quarters between the trees, 
leaning with obese joy against one of their trunks; and her companion 
and friend, a primeval swineherd, lounging over the beast, shoulders 
himself against the same tree, while nursing a small pig. Primitivity 
is adumbrated in a chaos of lines. The vision is not as a living 
model that an artist's imagination keeps and employs with ardent 
coolness, as Shakespeare's rapid genius — that sweet foe of haste, and 
gracious autocrat over form and style — retains Caliban, part beast 
and part man. 

Gurth, the Saxon Swineherd, thrall of Cedric and Rotherwood, in 
Scott's "Ivanhoe," had savage forerunners. Brangwyn has hit the 
trail of one ; and soon he will follow the fellow home into a complete 


Henry James, in his lecture on Balzac, says : "The fault of the 
Artist which amounts most completely to a failure of dignity is the 
absence of saturation with ideas. When saturation fails, no other real 
presence avails, as when, on the other hand, it operates, no failure of 
method fatally interferes." A profound truth, of course, but could 
it have been put into better sentences.? It seems to me that writers 
should hate the definite article — "the fault of the Artist," for in- 
stance — and should get rid of it by thought as often as they can ; 
and is "saturation" a good choice of words? Does it belong to fer- 
tility among things without brain, fields, gardens and their produce .? 
What intellectual fertility needs, I believe, is a mother-idea that fecun- 
dates, producing other ideas that increase and multiply, until an 
artist is governed by their companionship. A mind without ideas 
of its own is barren, though its memory may be as retentive as 
Macaulay's ; and as soon as original ideas do impregnate a brain as 
Millet's was impregnated by original observation out of doors among 
peasants, or as Brangwyn's has been impregnated by his original 
sympathy for hard-handed men of every sort, productive concepts 
and enthusiasms, if genuine, are as revelations, and no failure of 
method will be fatal. Blake is not killed by his nearly complete 
ignorance of things material, for example ; and though the temper of 
antique Egypt is in complete antagonism with the human spirit of our 


own modern selves, who can help feeling that antique Egypt not only 
lives on in her arts, but lives on also as with the might and majesty 
ot eternal duration, and a primal grandeur not to be met with else- 
where ? There is no exodus from Egyptian art. 
Only we must remember that some artists meditate continually over 
their original observations and ideas, while others pass not often from 
emotion into the long concentration out of which ideas in a sequence 
grow. As a rule, for instance. Millet represents long meditation; 
and Brangwyn, as a rule, swift emotion made real by swift workman- 
ship. I have said elsewhere:* "Millet, by nature, was a man of 
letters as well as a painter. Words and their music were fascinations 
that charmed him even in childhood; and throughout his life he 
passed a great deal of time in dreaming over his ideas and impressions. 
Also, and this point is equally important, his self-criticisms when at 
v/ork were not feelings akin to those that we call instincts among 
animals; they were verbal directions, clear-cut and definite, and 
ready to be spoken to a pupil like Wheelwright, or written to his 
friend Sensier. Now Brangwyn differs from Millet in all these 
points. Impulse governs him. His emotions are very strong, often 
vehement, and he loses himself entirely during his creative hours. 
Very seldom has he thought it worth while to reply to his detractors 
or to waste his inventive energy on explanations of his own aims and 
convictions. He expresses himself in paint or in etching, and if you 
fail to understand him there he does not help you with a literary 
interpretation of his purpose. This being his nature, you will not 
find in a Brangwyn any parade ["presence," not "parade," is the right 
vsford here] of that old and acquired knowledge that gives a Grecian 
air to the peasants in the finest etched plates by Millet. Jean 
Francois was himself plus several others, and the others are often 
quite easy to recognize. The antique swayed his mind, so did those 
mesmeric masters, Mantegna and Michelangelo ; and of these in- 
fluences he was not only conscious, but conscious also in that literary 
fashion that takes pride in the making of sentences. Seldom did He 
know the joy that Brangwyn feels when a subject possesses the mind 
entirely and the day's work is like a pleasant dream with a happy 

Afterthought persuades me that this analysis requires two amend- 
ments ; it is not friendly enough either to Millet's rural and rustic 
distinction or to his contemplative qualities, which endow his 

* Scribner's Magazine, May, 1 9 1 1 . 

peasants with a well-bred friendliness towards ancient soil, and it 
should note several dangers in unpremeditated art. Let us suppose 
that a few of Brangwyn's peasants and some of his other labourers 
had been brought closer than they are to the Greek passion for 
nobleness of gesture and feature with inspired line and rapt model- 
ling. Would their appeal as art from Brangwyn be enriched, or 
would it be enfeebled ? Modernists turn with hatred from a question 
of this decisive kind, forgetting that their modernism, if it is to be 
to future generations what the antique at its finest is to us, will need 
from age to age qualities that have staying power and abiding 
persuasion. For genius only visits our to-day ; her permanent home 
is a perpetual sequence of to-morrows. And what part of human 
o-enius endures best .? Intellect behind and in esthetic emotion. 
More than one of Brangwyn's loyal adherents, and notably Henri 
Marcel, has analysed Brangwyn's handling of important human 
figures in lithographs and etched work, noting that his sawyers, 
bricklayers, dyers, tanners, miners, sailors, and other hard-handed 
men, are often less interesting, because less intense and expressive, 
than those prints where inanimate things are governed by vast 
natural forces. Though it is right and necessary always to reveal 
the truth that most workmen of to-day are more or less enslaved to 
machines, there's no need ever to make this truth too emphatic by 
failing to endow their bodies with enough form and their faces with 
enough thought and speech. Henri Marcel suggests that two or 
three occasional defects of Brangwyn's work come from our London 
climate, which he argues, makes general aspects of industrialism more 
pictorial than individual workers. Even in summer, he says, our 
city often puts on a garb of darkness, of actual night. Very often 
our London sky "instead of constituting the clearest light value in 
the field of vision, is relegated to the second or third plane, and 
becomes a strongly contrasting background to any object that is 
directly in the path of the filtering rays. These effects, which 
would seem paradoxical in most climates, have greatly impressed 
Brangwyn with their special picturesque qualities. . . . He has 
devoted himself to their reproduction. . . ." 

Though our London climate has bad whims enough, it is not so bad 
as Henri Marcel declares, and assthetic problems belong usually to 
art's spiritual factors. Those occasional parts of Brangwyn's work 
which are not yet so mature as they will become, set me thinking 
of a spiritual thing, the very unusual education through which this 


great artist has travelled, awhile 
growing trees to make the high 
ladder by which he has risen above 
his contemporaries. Conflict with 
life, and with life in many climes, 
was his university and his art school ; 
and all that was innate in his passion 
for art — his delight in decoration 
his intrepid enterprise, his fondness for the poor, his rapid hand, 
his unlimited energy, and his eagerness to collect swift impressions 
— all this, let me suggest, was intensified by his wandering studies, 
usually remote from teachers, and plaster casts of antique figures, life 
classes, and the usual routine of a boy artist's apprenticeship. 
To this uncommon education he owed invaluable qualities, together 
with two or three defects ; and it is precisely these defects that he 
can clear away during the next period of his enterprise. For he is 
not among the many artists who have ceased to grow because they 
have ceased to respond to the needs of enduring work. 
Every bias having its own perils, a bias towards pictorial decoration 
requires as much watching as any other, above all when a painter is 
gifted with a wondrous facility of hand that produces at its best 
unmatchahly rich workmanship. If a man is a defective colourist, 
like Ingres, or if he paints with slow brooding pains, like Leonardo, 
he is obliged to ponder much and often, and he will value form and 
intellectual expression much more than he values paint and colour. 
Ingres, almost with a sneer, described colour as " la dame d'atours 
de la peinture " (lady of the bedchamber to the art of painting), 
though a monochrome world would be a perpetual funeral. It is 
always in colours that the world's antiquity smiles into youth 
renewed. And let it be noted also that as a draughtsman by right 
of birth is attracted by line and what line can express, so a born 
painter and colourist is attracted towards brushes and what brushes 
alone can express to perfection. 

No one desires, then, that Brangwyn, a painter through and through, 
and the most ample and varied of all British colourists, should rate 
point drawing at a higher level than paint and colour. He is very 
fond of drawing with a point, of course, and in his own style he 
shows that his point-work is governed by his inborn passion for 
colour and other painterly qualities. Few painters equal his com- 
mand over the simpler aspects of point-drawing, but he can — and no 

T 137 

doubt he will — do more than he has done as a revealer of mind and 
of what I may call sculptural form in his chosen models. No doubt 
he will, because no true artist can fail to see that sculptural form, 
varied and wonderful, is evident in all things that live and grow and 
suffer death. Natural angles, the antithesis of natural fertility, are 
produced only by agents of destruction, like earthquakes and 
lightning ; it is always curves and rounds, charmed with rhythmic 
and supple modelling, that we find wherever we seek for Nature's 
reproduction and superabundant growth. So it is not only in Greek 
sculpture, and in such modern work as Ingres produced at his best, 
that we come upon this modelling. We see it also even in blades 

of grass. 

" How can a big man grow bigger if he has no big faults to 
correct ? " Though Brangwyn has a few defects, like every other 
vital and progressive worker, all industrial aspects of his finer prints 
are impregnated both with present-day life and with impassioned 
sincerity, and every new student will soon make friends with their 
general spirit if he will approach a unique art in a proper manner. 
Let him not suppose, as a good many writers do suppose, that a 
thing sometimes called " the democratization of art " has a lineage 
not at all old, perhaps not older than the brothers Le Nain, who 
worked in the seventeenth century. An art is unique, not because 
it has no pedigree through human life in all past ages, but because it 
endows such a lineage immemorial with a new vision, coming from 
a genius unlike other geniuses; and thus we unite ourselves more 
closely to unique art when we seek out and try to understand its 
discoverable forerunners, just as a student of to-day's battleships likes 
to meditate over an evolution that goes back without a break to the 
first dug-outs made by prehistoric men. 

Tanagra statuettes, like the athletes of antique sculpture, prove that 
ancient Greeks brought popular life within the gamut of their own 
itstheticism ; but the origin of this artistic factor is prehistoric, 
dating from those Palaeolithic artists who represented animals that 
they hunted, one fresco — it is at Altamira — measuring fourteen 
metres long. Near Cogul, a village of Catalonia, there are frescoes 
on exposed rocks. In one a red man is shown attacking a red bison, 
while another has a group of ten human figures — nine women and 
a man — arranged in a row, the man with five women on one side 
and four on the other. The women's bodies are narrow-waisted, 
with skirts reaching to their knees and a sort of mantle over their 


shoulders. The attitudes, though somewhat chaotic, suggest a 
dance.* Here is fresco decoration and popular life, prehistoric and 
post-Impressionist; and a photograph of it stirs one's imagination 
as keenly as that very tragical picture by the eldest Breughel, where 
blind peasants lead one another, and where we see in pitiful satire a 
quite modern attitude towards the logic of disaster that flows from 
follies. The more we connect Brangwyn with his predecessors, 
both near to our own day and marvellously far off among lost ages, 
the closer we shall unite him and ourselves to that miracle which is 
always at work — evolution. And another truth to be remembered — 
a truth, too, that we should give to F. B. as a true motto for his 
biography — comes to us from Robert Browning : — 

" I count Life just the stuff 
To try the soul's strength on, educe the man. 
Who keeps one end in view, makes all things serve." 

* E. A. Parkyn, Prehistoric Art," p. no. 




n the catalogue of F.B.'s etched 
work, the first motif is architec- 
tural ; it represents, in a very 
careful study from Nature, some 
old timber houses at Walbers- 
wick, near Southwold. They stand on stilts out of reach of damp 
and rats, and their high-pitched roofs, with gables alert and sharp- 
angled, are lively enough to put good spirits into a rainy day. 
There is nothing more typical of Young England, Gothic and Tudor 
England, than a gabled woodeji house, whether a harlequin dressed 
in black and white, a magpie house, or covered modestly all over 
with boards. 

Forrestial England bred a people so fond of timber cabins, huts, 
sheds and houses that neither fires nor civic rules could put the 
passion out of vogue where woods were common and housebote was 
a customary right which tenants inherited. Fire after fire attacked 
London, as in 1135, 1161, 121 2, 1266, and frequent decrees were 
issued against wooden buildings, and against roofs thatched with 
straw, reeds, rushes, and other litter ; but English character at its 
best is a true sportsman, and sportsmanship is conservative, running 
risks in order that old customs and pleasures may be repeated and 
renewed. Mere timber cabins and sheds could be kept, more or 
less, under municipal control, but the playfulness of half-timbering 
came from national character, and here and there it passed through 
generations from medieval days to the coming of our factory 
system, with speculative builders to jerryise our home life into 
perilous housing problems. We have sold cheap what is most dear — 
many good rustic styles of honest building, such as F.B. has etched 
in these old places at Walberswick, now destroyed, and in a timber 
watermill at Brentford, also cleared away as old-fashioned. 
As late as 1850, or thereabouts, the history of English houses, with 
that of English cottages, from the twelfth century, could be seen 
and studied out of doors, together with earlier phases of building 
full of Anglo-Saxon habits and customs, while our charcoal-burner's 
cone-shaped hut — still extant, luckily — had and has a simplicity so 
primitive that its origin is probably prehistoric. Yet England saw 


not her good fortune in having so much domestic history, with its 
pride of craft, out of doors and plain for all folk to see and easy for 
all folk to emulate. To-day, if we wish to get in touch with the 
same history, we learn how dependent we are becoming on ancient 
manuscripts, elderly pictures and engravings, books, and the topo- 
graphical drawings made between 1750 and about 1850 — made by 
Sandby, Hearne, Turner, Girtin, Blore, Nash, and a great many 
others, above all by William Twopeny, Boswell of our English house 
and its many styles. Later artists also have rescued many a cottage 
and many a house, just as public museums collect examples of good 

old furniture, and 
a younger England, 
find in useful work 
as welcome as games 
But, of course, 
when their craft- 
its purpose and 
loved as incentives 
be outvied, for noble 
very much when 
flood our markets 
with frauds. Art 
jects of daily use 
machine - made ; 
of workmanship no 
fresh and fit ideas 

It is true to 


other mementoes of 
a country willing to 
well done a pleasure 
and sports were, 
young old things, 
manship is fit for 
thorough, are to be 
only, as models to 
crafts are harmed 
crazes for old things 
with copies and 
is dying when ob- 
are copies, mostly 
when old traditions 
longer grow into 
and enterprises, 
that precious parts 

of ournationalchar- EX LEIBMIS . A.1L1IC1E acter have gone 
with many fine old T.COOJiOE.AD.IISfly traditions of well- 
doing by handicraft shown in common things apt for incessant use. 
Cottages ought to be as enjoyable as are the Robin Hood ballads 
or the songs of Herrick, and they used to be so in many places, as 
extant specimens bear witness. That we are below our ancestors, 
far below them and much inferior, is a fact which most people try 
to hide with boastful cant, though it is proved beyond all doubt 
even by old barns, many of which had and have a dignity of 
workmanship, a true and a great design, not to be found in a 
great many modern chapels built by Nonconformists, sometimes 
with mean thrift, and sometimes with shoddy redundance. As 
W. R. Lethaby says: "We do not allow shoddy in cricket and 


football, but reserve it for serious things like houses and books, furni- 
ture and funerals. ... It is a tremendous fact that whereas a century 
ago or so the great mass of the people exercised arts, such as boot- 
making, book-binding, chair-making, smithing, and the rest, now a 
great wedge has been driven in between the craftsman of every kind 
and his customers by the method of large production by machinery. 
'We cannot go back' — true; and it is as true that we cannot stay 
where we are." 

Let me ask you, then, always to connect with our present lot, our 
present needs, every good model of old work that Brangwyn has 
found out of doors and turned into an etching or a painting. Give 
help, too, as much as you can, to the Design and Industries Associa- 
tion, since its high purpose, like that of the Art Workers' Guild, 
is to convince workmen and their paymasters that the joy of doing 
a job well for its own sake and use ought to be more natural to man 
than greed or than fraud, and that it makes good design, work fit for 
its purpose, comfortable to live with as true art. 

This fact the Germans have understood from its trade and social 
points of view ; they know better than we do the history of our arts 
and crafts movement, borrowing from it all that they need, and con- 
stituting the arts and crafts as a fruitful branch of political economy, 
supported by a noble Werkbund^ and already with a chair in one 
university. It was they who turned into founts of type an English 
study of fine lettering, begun by Morris, and continued, with beauti- 
ful skill, by Edward Johnston. What happened then.? A common- 
place. We started at once to buy German founts and to print from 
them.* Many English minds have had fertile ideas, but our poor 
nation, misruled by ordinary minds, has been too cocky and too 
conventional and too enslaved by party politics for the good sense of 
fertile ideas to aid her to be either wise towards herself or alert in 
the international warfare that trade competition enforces on all 
countries. It is only under military and naval discipline that most 
Britons are thorough without much disturbance from unrest, strikes, 
and scamped workmanship. They need what they hate — imperative 
discipline. Centuries of ease in a snug little island have been very 
bad for their foresight and their self-denial, their workmanship and 
their future. To teach our country to value once more the honour of 

• In March, 1915, under the auspices of the Board of Trade, an exhibition of German 
industrial art was held at the Goldsmiths' Hall, London ; it showed that German manu- 
facturers have taken a pride in testing brave notions and in doing excellent work. 


good work always fit to be used and liked is a very pressing need; it is 
the only patriotism that surrounds an elderly nation with a safe life- 
belt. Intellect-benumbing cant must be displaced by good craftsman- 
ship. How can life be worth living when work is not liked with a 
just pride? How can a nation keep away from revolutions if her 
people lose the joy with which every job should be done well for its 
needful use and its proper place?* 

Brangwyn's fondness for old and elderly relics of sound craftsmanship 
is a passion, as everything in art must be, and now and then it has 
made his touch almost hesitant, if not even timid, and therefore 
unlike his own. The old timber houses at Walberswick are etched 
on a plate nearly twelve inches square, yet the technique is tighter 
and more thoughtful than it is in " The Old Tree at Hammersmith" 
(No. 14), a plate only five by four inches; and the wooden water- 
mill at Brentford (No. 21), just twelve inches square, has qualities 
like these Walberswick houses, but richer in tone and freer. It 
seems to me that these painstaking moods, incisive and precise, 
watchful and studious, but not laboured, are among the most note- 
worthy of Brangwyn's variations. Not only are they found always 
— or usually — in architectural motifs, as in "Brentford Bridge" 
(No. 23), "The Castello della Ziza at Palermo" (No. 30), and "The 
Monument, London" (No. 200), but they prove to us also that the 
swiftest etcher now at work, the swiftest and most virile, can summon 
into use when he tries a reserve fund of patience that critics either 
fail to see or forget to set down in their studies. 

Several recent architectural etchings — French motifs as a rule, like 
the old houses on piles at Meaux, a penetrative and grave print — 
have the same contemplative sincerity, a blend of steady thought 
with esthetic emotion. Now and again this meditative search and 
research appear, with some architecture, in an industrial motif, and 
then we welcome such an etching as the coal mine after an explosion 
(No. 59) or the one called " Bridge Builders " (No. 37), though it 
represents an iron landing-stage for coal just below Greenwich 
Hospital. The real "Bridge Builders" is plate No. 221, a work 
constructed with authority and with so much power and weight 
that it is informed all over with the clodhopper charm that engineers 
put into the framework of their enterprises. 
" Old Houses at Ghent " (No. 64), etched on a large copper plate, 

* Wellington said : " There is little or nothing in this life worth living for ; but we 
can all of us go straightforward and do our duty." 

T ) -1 

24* by 2 if", is known everywhere as a very fine achievement, 
uniting to-day's industry with a lace-work of many-windowed 
architecture that used to be the Spanish Guild. A timber bridge, 
quite new, yet not discordant with old times, connects a busy 
foreground to the veteran houses, one of which has a stepped gable, 
while the other has a gable carved and adorned, such as we find in 
some Queen Anne buildings, so called. Windows are so numerous 
that the frontage has at least as many voids as solids, as much glass 
as wall. Yet Brangwyn, with his usual felicity, has revealed body 
and weight where most other etchers would have seen a sort of airy, 
fairy structure, unsubstantial as a dream almost. Body, weight, 
growth, rhythm, and the soaring flight of Gothic, that skylark rise 
and song of Christian architecture — these are attributes of great 
building that appeal most strongly to Brangwyn, as to Girtin, and 
he makes them real by various means in his finer plates. " Old 
Houses at Ghent " belong to a technical inspiration very similar to 
that which I have noticed (pp. 131, 132) in "Old Hammersmith" 
(No. 128), though there is a difference of poetical feeling and allure. 
Sunlight is all-important to " Old Hammersmith ": it composes and 
orchestrates a good part of the whole living design, while light and 
shade in the earlier work have for their mission the gentle honouring 
of noble old age with its charmed and charming decrepitude. 
Henri Marcel says no more than is quite correct when he notes that 
the melancholy charm of decrepitude has rarely been handled with 
such a fond caress as in these " Old Houses at Ghent." 
Santa Sophia at Constantinople, with her arcaded crown of cupolas, 
and the shining amplitude of her massive fa9ade, is another fine 
plate (No. 71) ; and, as is usual in Brangwyn's attitude to mosques, 
cathedrals and other churches, popular life makes a busy congrega- 
tion all along its foreground. This Turkish subject belongs to 1906 ; 
and let it be studied side by side with a later etching, "The Mosque 
of Ortakevi at the Entrance to the Bosphorus" (No. 185, 28I" by 
22I", 1911). Here is a tremendous effect, produced by contrasting 
the majesty of Eastern architecture with a conflagration, from which 
many persons are escaping. There are men carrying other men, 
and the movement is so lively that a first glance may take it to be 
the frolic movement of a festival. Then a scamper for safety and 
the rescuers are connected with the fire, and one thinks of Legros' 
etching of a burning village. Brangwyn's figures are introduced 
with significant pointwork, and I miss one thing only — just a little 


more foreground as a bottom balance to the ascending mass of living 

Very different in all respects is "The Rialto, Venice" (No. 72), which 
is not among my preferences. It attracts me little, not because very 
little of this bridge can be seen, but because there seems to be not 
much that is definite in its mood and purpose, except the doing of 
an alert sketch with rich and contrastive textures. To my mind, 
then, it does not help F. B. to break his own records, and it adds no 
uncommon grace or distinction to the Venice that artists have seen 
with their imaginations. 


There are foreign writers who like to describe Brangwyn sometimes 
as un Veronese Londonien, and sometimes as an old Venetian who has 
made his home among the fogs and horrors of a commercial time. 
These phrases may have been suggested by the sculptor Preault's 
famous mot: "Af. Ingres est un Chinois egare dans Athenes, et Pradier 
part tous les matins pour la Grece et arrive tons les soirs an quartier 
Breda.'''* Such flashes of wit are never quite true, but they amuse 
us into thought. F. B. is no more un Veronese Londonien than Ingres 
was un Chinois egare dans Athenes. Certain qualities in his work are 
nearer to Tiepolo than Veronese, and his varied style has ever been 
too candidly his own to be at all near to any old master's, except in 
kinship of virile temperament. None the less it is true that his 
Oriental passion for rare and splendid colour, songful, unfidgeted, is 
to many gray and grim phases of modernized painting what the 
Venetian school was to a good many Dutch and Flemish students. 
And it is also true that he loves Venice, her present and her past, as 
Ingres loved the Greek spirit in art, with its intellectual design and 
its alembicated form ; the Greek spirit, that human paradise of gleam- 
ing flesh and enchanted simplicity. 

Venice exists, but not as Venice, for genius has found in her so 
many Venices, all beautiful, that she lives variously as imaginative 
art. Brangwyn sees there — not the gossamer magic of Whistler's 
etched line, nor the Aphrodite of cities that Turner illumined with 
his own sunlight, but — a mingling of solid, energetic prose with airy 
romance, just as Shakespeare adds the hard-handed men of Athens 
to Titania and her fairies, and Theseus and his court, and the eternal 

* " Monsier Ingres is a Chinaman lost in Athens, and Pradier starts every morning for 
Greece and arrives every evening at the Breda quarter." 

u 14s 

lovers at sixes and sevens. Quince, Snug, Flute, Snout, Bottom, 
Starveling, are present in Brangwyn's Venice, with their ups and 
downs of fortune. Quince and Snug are busy on their gondola 
making, when they are not mourners at those Venetian funerals, 
half-joyous with merry colour, that Brangwyn has etched and 
painted ; and we may be sure that Bottom the Weaver, who desires 
to act every part in a play, is not far off from that haunted night 
scene called " Unloading Wine at Venice," where Dame Nature 
herself seems to be a smuggler. Two or three etchings, and notably 
" The Bridge of Sighs," reveal the courtier grace and work of some 
Renaissance architecture which seems to rest on fidgety water, with 
gondolas and its own troubled reflections. 

Brangwyn's "II Traghetto " (No. 175), though rich and sonorous, is 
not as a good host to me. It offers too much, I fear. I prefer the 
great pile of Santa Maria della Salute, which adds a different note to 
the Brangwyn Venice, a note of uprising adventure, and a pride that 
receives the full sunlight at last on leaden domes, and not on such 
lustred and gemlike tiles as old Persian craftsmen would have offered 
to the sky as praiseful allies. 

Santa Maria is etched thrice, and the great commerce of shipping 
appears in two plates, adding historical suggestion to the appeals that 
art makes. A storm gathers around one etching (No. 108, 14^" by 
1 1"), darkening up from the horizon, just as danger to the Venetian 
Republic drew nearer and nearer with the rise of England's Navy, 
her sea supremacy in war and commerce. 

There are writers who say that I am wrong to seek in art for histori- 
cal suggestions, as esthetic emotions alone have a rightful magic in 
fine arts; but they are writers who employ a routine of words, they 
never think. As we cannot delete Bible literature and its own appeal 
from Renaissance pictures without cancelling hundreds of master- 
pieces, so we cannot shut out the past of any city from etchings and 
pictures that represent the city's old buildings and present life and 
labour. It was Meryon's impassioned love for the elderly age of 
Paris, in part a true literary emotion, that informed his etched pre- 
cision with an abiding poetry that put his own mind and soul into 
non-living things ; and it is Brangwyn's feeling for the plurality of 
Venice, her permanent yesterdays and her present hours, her en- 
during arts and her transitory enterprises in the common work of 
every day, that enables him and us to blend aesthetic Venice with 
other elements of the great human drama. Even Turner was not 


satisfied with paint and its inspired pictures. He wrote his "Falla- 
cies of Hope" — and quoted from them in R.A. catalogues; and he 
quoted also from Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden, Pope, Byron, Sir 
Walter Scott, and a good many others. Yes, and Leonardo da Vinci 
could write with as much ethical fervour as Ruskin: "The study of 
Nature is well-pleasing to God, it is akin to prayer. By learningjthe 
laws of Nature we magnify Him who invented, who designed this 
world; and we learn also to love Him more, as great love of God 
must be increased by great and right knowledge." Let us be sure, 
then, that aesthetic emotion does not dwell in us apart from other 
gifts of mind and heart. 

Now and then Brangwyn breaks in upon our aesthetic feelings by 
giving even too much space on his plates to majestic buildings. His 
" Mosque of Ortakevi " 
is one example, and the 
stormy etching of Santa 
Maria has a foreground 
not quite broad and deep 
enough to counterpoise 
amply its architecture and 
the sky. Even in "Santa 
Maria from the Street" 
(No. no, 17I" by 22;'), 
where the street and its 
figures are handled with 
playful care and high 
spirits, another J" of fore- 
ground would be very 
welcome as a reposeful 
balance, and I" more of 
sky would have freed the 
tallest dome from the 
plate's top edge. Even 
a big plate may look 
Procrustean when its con- 
tents are not so free as 
they are ample in con- 
ception and fine in treat- 
And another technical 



point seems to be worth offering as a hint to be considered. 
Two etchings of Santa Maria (Nos. io8 and no) are on copper, 
while the third is on zinc (No. Ii8, 315" by 2ii"). Each 
metal gives distinctive qualities as a rule, and there appears to 
be more meditation, with less pictorial suppleness and texture, in 
most of the work on copper. Which of these qualities has the 
happier presence in architectural motifs ? Who can say positively ? 
The copper etchings have an allure that many etchers like better 
than the aspects almost of monochrome painting that Brangwyn 
often obtains from zinc ; but I know that most Brangwynians prefer 
the zinc etchings. My own view is that copper seems to be nearer 
to the linear genius of most architecture, though farther from 
Brangwyn's native style as a great colourist and painter; and now 
and then he seems to feel this himself by using copper for his 
architectural pieces, as for " The Church of St. Nicholas at Dix- 
muden" (No. 117), "Old Houses at Ghent," and a lightly-touched 
and excellent Messina plate called "The Headless Crucifix" 
(No. 152).* 


On the other hand, zinc qualities are adapted a good many times, 
with so much tact and skill to the linear genius of architecture that 
they have what I take to be the more disciplined charm of copper 
qualities. " Old Hammersmith " is one example, and we find 
another in " The Church of Notre Dame at Eu, in Normandy " 
(No. 143, 30J" by 231"). This plate has in it the spirit of French 
Gothic, which is generally set apart from English phases of Gothic 
by more display. Our English tradition — and tradition as an 
aesthetic factor comes always from national character and intellectual 
outlook — was a tradition in design of sobriety and dignity, with 
steadfast purpose and delicate moulding and restful craftsmanship. 
It was this fine temper that saved our country from a Flamboyant 
period of Gothic, and that gave and gives to the best English furniture 

* It is probably easier to print from the white metal zinc than from the coloured metal 
copper, and art students who are often "hard up" must be grateful to zinc, as it is 
usually cheaper than copper. Some etchers believe that the same qualities can be got, 
with equal ease or equal difficulty, from both metals, and that the choice of either is 
more a matter of accident than a preference coming from a temperamental bias. Legros, 
always a great authority, did not hold these views. He knew that men of genius do 
many things without becoming conscious of the reasons ; and he was certaia that metals 
different in hardness, like canvases different in texture, must have, as a rule, a differing 
influence on a work's technique and presence. 


unrivalled quietness with grace and strength. French Gothic is more 
profuse, more fanciful, more feminine and enriched, often restless; 
and its Flamboyant period is concordant with those effervescent 
moods which Frenchmen have united often to more wit than 
humour, and to more revolution than beneficent, wise compromise. 
But Brangwyn shows also, in his finer interpretations of French 
architecture, that the inner merits of French building, like the 
inner merits of French courage and enterprise, are staunch and 
weighty. To-day, in fact, the French character grows into self- 
denial and towards reserve; while our British civilian character is 
becoming so much hke our noisepapers and our picture palaces that 
little public work can be done without much aid from scenical 
emotion and theatrical display. 

" Notre Dame at Eu " reveals a French phase of Gothic in an 
extract of Brangwyn's own style. The church occupies nearly the 
whole of a large plate, and Brangwyn feels with so much ardour all 
ascending lines, the upward flight of Gothic, that, like Girtin, his 
hand lingers with greatest persuasion on the building's upper parts. 
A little more foreground would be welcome, though la vie populatre 
is put in with wit and humour and frolic, clustering around the 
church in a festival, with booths and wrestlers and holiday-makers 
noisily and jocosely at their ease. 

' Other etchers never capture from Gothic architecture and its position 
in social life any visions equal and similar to Brangwyn's best. They 
collect much else that we need, of course, like Cameron and Bone ; 
or like Lepere and Bauer, whose West Fronts of Amiens are finely 
seen, felt, cut, and made into different gems, entirely free from busy 
paste. But I like better still an etching-needle that is never at all 
pretty, because it rebuilds, like Cotman's, or like Piranesi's; and how 
fortunate we are when we feel, in Brangwyn's rebuildings, how soUd 
and heavy is the petrified music which goes up and up as noble 
Gothic, as if eager to return the sun's daily visits. 
To put into stone, maybe for a thousand years, and many more, a true 
and generous art that is musical with good work full of thoughtful 

, aspirations and just pride, is this the most hospitable well-doing that 
binds century after century to that which is for ever best in thorough 
and worthy craftsmen? I believe it must be. No gap parts it from 
common lives and mean streets ; it offers to all comers a noble wel- 
come; and though men ill-treat it sometimes and often neglect it, 
becanse they have not been taught how to make friends with it, they 


cannot befoul it often with thegambling knock-outs that auctions thrust 
upon any noble work that is easy to move from place to place. To 
my mind, then, etchers and outdoor painters are always most useful 
and necessary to the art of living as chums among their fellow-men 
when they try to translate into their work the friendliness that fine 
architecture offers to everybody. Even etchers who give their days 
to trade work, far too neat and pretty for the well-doing that counts 
in the to-morrows, are to architecture what posters are to business. 
They attract notice, stir up interest, and remind us that Lite and 
Art get separated, like Art and Industry, unless many and various 
connecting-links hold them together as allies. As a rule, too, etch- 
ings and pictures of public architecture should be united to the 
people's customs and manners. 

In Brangwyn's rapid impression of "Notre Dame at Paris," a recent 
plate done out of doors, perennial architecture is foiled, with satire, 
by a democratic orator who, with banners raised between the showers 
of a fitful day, promises a new earth to a throng of ideal statesmen 
dawdling with their votes among sudden shades and flashes of sun- 
light. The masons who built Notre Dame de Paris were kings in 
comparison with these triflers who rise and fall on talk like balloons 
on gas. Across the top of one plate — "La Rue des Mauvais 
Gar9ons " — Meryon etched with a very fine needle some pathetic 
verses, so eager was he to put into words, as well as into lines and 
tones, his thoughts on life's contrasts and ironies. It is for the same 
purpose that Brangwyn employs popular life as annotations to his 
etchings of great architecture. Wit, humour, irony, satire, burlesque, 
pathos, tragedy, terror, with other condiments from the frequent 
hash that nations make of their opportunities, are present among the 
foreground figures whenever Brangwyn desires to place in quite 
normal opposition the littleness of ordinary men and the varied 
genius that venerable buildings represent from age to age. 
In "St. Leonard's Abbey, near Tours" (No. 206), an etching to be 
studied again and again, some tagrag and bobtail — caddish moments 
of humanity — enjoy fuddled high jinks at the foot of a noble but 
neglected piece of architecture whose style seems to date from the 
twelfth century. This satirical humour is justified by much ill- 
treatment which so many ancient abbeys have received from bigots, 
tourists, reformers, farmers, and other ideal persons, all too self- 
imprisoned to notice the proud thoroughness that the Middle Ages 
treasured up in beautiful masonry, though everyone's life was threat- 


ened by many a disease uncommon nowadays. Is there anything 
more touching than the contrast between the brevity of medieval 
lives and the astounding endurance of medieval craftsmanship even 
when great ruins are neglected ? 

" St. Leonard's Abbey " — it is a large print, 23I" by 29I" — should 
be put side by side with Brangwyn's study of Romanesque cloisters 
in a noble church at Airvault, Deux-Sevres, a town remarkable also 
for a Romanesque bridge of the twelfth century, le pont de Verrmy. 
Few etchings, old or new, blend together so much architectural 
might with so much original mystery, and there's little trace of 
those emphatic dark plots which Brangwyn is apt to use when he is 
greatly moved by decorative aspects of his light and shade. A 
religious ceremony has attracted to these cloisters broken mendicants 
of many sorts, with cloaked and hooded women who carry tapers. 
All this human desolation is made real with passion, receiving more 
time and thought than Brangwyn has given to any other plate. Yet 
I am not drawn into the drama that this poverty and misery repre- 
sent, and I must say why if the right words come. It seems to me 


that these human figures, which express deep sincerity and grave 
meditation, come more from Brangwyn himself, his inner conscious- 
ness, than from that alembicating observation, that intellectual grip 
on observed character and other truth, which, when quintessenced 
and raised to the highest power, enable artists to reveal the heart's 
tragedies as well as great outward aspects of high drama. I believe, 
too, like W. R. Lethaby, that "a characteristic of a work, of art is 
that the design interpenetrates workmanship, so that one may hardly 
know where one ends and the other begins." In "Airvault Church," 
unless I misjudge it, workmanship and design, the whole motif and 
purpose, do not yet achieve complete oneness, as their human 
element is not yet quite whole with the architectural parts, whose 
inspiration has intense magic. 

I am touching now on a debatable subject, and for several reasons 
it is a subject that keeps me on delicate ground. But the interpre- 
tation of art cannot have any value unless it is quite frank towards 
delicate matters, offering with modest care for consideration those 
hitches and imperfect sympathies which arise now and again between 
devotees and their chosen artists. I remember the many months of 
thought that Legros gave to the figures in his noble plates on the 
Triumph of Death. He brooded over each plate, not with that 
cold after-thought which generally spoils inspiration, but with that 
developing fervour that most epic toil needs from the highest facul- 
ties of the highest minds. Legros was braced up and heartened 
by his conviction that he could not go far enough into the most 
wondrous varied mystery enveloping the brief seasons of his and our 
perishable years. One day he said to me : " There are two very 
easy things that I am tempted all the time to do. I can put in too 
much with my needle-point, and I can leave out too much. A 
crowd is a crowd, so I must work within the spirit of my crowds, 
trying always not to express either overmuch or too little with lines 
I etch." 

Again and again Brangwyn is face to face with these problems, and 
he seeks help of many sorts — from coloured papers, tinted high 
lights, rich translucent inks admirably blended, and other printing 
methods, full of thought and often most satisfying as producers of 
original and memorable beauties. And I am not perplexed when 
his chiaroscuro seems not to belong to our sun and our firmament of 
air, when it seems to come from his own mind, as Dante's awful 
other world came from Dante's; but, of course, art demands most 


earnest realism in some of its parts when non-natural elements 
intorm its appeal in other parts. Shakespeare sketches with the 
utmost care his hard-handed men of Athens and his lovers and 
courtiers when he imagines his dream peopled with Titania and her 
fairies, because he knows that the human mind is apt towards the 
supernatural only within the companionship of real things and 
familiar persons. Other-worldliness needs our own worldliness as 
a balance and protector; and it is just here that Brangwyn, to my 
mind, loses some grip of his purpose in the Cloisters of Airvault 

I know not how these cloisters are illumined, as I have never been 
fortunate enough to see in nature the mysterious light which he has 
imagined and then set free, as ambient as air, to transfigure all that 
it touches. It touches all the proud, bold architecture, arched and 
columned shapes ; but the mendicants — halt, lame, blind, deformed, 
or depraved by suffering, with some other hostages whom fortune 
has kept and broken — these, I believe, are just a little outside the 
light and clash with it somewhat. And I note also that this lighting, 
which appeals with so much charm and mystery to the imagination, 
was suggested by Nature and etched out of doors. Yes, but Shelley's 
Skylark came from Nature, so did the Nightingale of Keats, and 
all poets of the world before their time had heard other skylarks 
and other nightingales. Nature is what Nature becomes to imagina- 
tive genius. One day a lady spoke to Turner about the magician's 
colour. " I find, Mr. Turner, in copying one of your pictures, that 
touches of blue, red and yellow appear all through the work." 
" Well, madam, don't you see that yourself in Nature ? Because, if 
you don't. Heaven help you." Turner forgot that the good lady 
had but her own eyes, while he had his unique genius.* 


When Brangwyn, in 1906, discovered his own etched style by 
producing his "Old Houses at Ghent" (No. 64), and when, two 
years later, by achieving "Old Hammersmith" (No. 128), he 
improved this happy style — a duet between his own manner in 
pointwork and in printing — we all got from him a standard by 

* " Airvault Church " is reproduced in this book, on a scale greatly reduced. The 
photogravure gives a good many of the qualities, but not the original charm of F. B.'s 

which to judge his later etched work ; and a standard all the more 
valuable to us, and to himself also, because it was not hard and fast, 
not mannered and procrustean, but supple and plastic, and rich with 
possibilities. His adherents knew that it was not a standard which 
he could repeat without a break : two lines of descent would come 
from it, one direct and graceful and one somewhat reactionary. 
Printing methods would be certain to have their own line of descent 
from those experiments with aquatint and foul biting to be found in 
several prints of the apprentice years (1900-3), and sometimes their 
development might turn pointwork into a maker of skeletons for 
the manipulation of inks to clothe with body and expressive light, 
shade, texture and vivid life. 

Sometimes this development has occurred, educing very dramatic 
work, varied and original, with a long reach and a firm grip. The 
general aspect of "Le Pont Neuf, Paris," belongs to it partly, so 
does the general aspect of "Airvault Church," and that also of "St. 
Peter's of the Exchange, Genoa" (No. 209), a large and decorative 
plate etched out of doors. A religious procession is introduced with 
apt observation and allusive skill ; it comes down the steps and across 
the foreground on our left, while many people either kneel in prayer 
or look on with reverence. Here and there deep shadows full of 
detail clasp the architecture, and a slight and effective undertone is 
put on the plate with acid in a manner discovered by Brangwyn. 
This etching is a very acute, perceptive study, coming from a 
technical inspiration of a piece with those that appeal to us from 
a Brangwyn impression in rapid and flowing water-colour. It may be 
bracketed with "St. Nicolas du Chardonnet, Paris" (No. 208), an 
original old church, built in a style that somehow recalls F. B.'s own 
power. But generally I prefer those prints that come by the more 
lineal descent from "Old Hammersmith" and the "Old Houses at 
Ghent"; and since this chapter ends my present endeavour to interpret 
as loyally as I can what a rare genius has done with etching tools 
and inks, I wish to sum up what I see and feel in both groups 
of prints, in so far as they concern this chapter. And let me say 
that I do not look upon printing as the mere manipulation of inks — 
a technical matter that concerns a good printer. It is on inspirations 
and general aspects expressed with the service of inks and printing 
that an interpreter of etching has to fix his attention. 
We start out from 1910 with the Messina earthquake prints — a set 
of etchings unique in several ways, but mainly because it reveals 

what a tragedian artist feels when he stands among awful ruins 
thronged with death by one of Nature's convulsions. There are 
seven Messina plates, and only one is what I take to be something of 
a truant in general aspect from the "Old Hammersmith" standard. 
It is a Martin-like vision of the wrecked Duomo, seen from outside, 
with a vague crowd on its knees in prayer around the apse, a bluff 
and haughty structure, while a sky burdened with smoke eddies and 
gleams, and the sun sets gloriously, as if no unusual event had brought 
horror to our world. This Duomo is reputed to date from the 
Norman period and the year 1098. More than a century ago, in 
1793, her campanile and transept were overthrown by earthquake, 
and in 1908, when Brangwyn made his many sketches and water- 
colours, much else had just perished, leaving only portions of the 
fa9ade and the apse, which stood above an earthquake's terrific ruins 
as medieval fortresses used to hold out in provinces overrun by a foe 
who spared little that could be destroyed. Though the plate is full 
of pointwork, close and potent, its whole conception is a mono- 
chrome painting, and it is printed with greater force than F. C. 
Lewis put with aquatint into Girtin's noble "Rue St. Denis." In 
general allure this print is Martinesque, and I ask myself whether 
the shade of Charles Lamb likes it better than Lamb in the flesh 
liked the stupendous architectural designs that John Martin erected 
somehow in a world of his own creation. 

The other Messina prints also are remarkable for thoughtful print- 
ing, as in the surging waves of smoke that pile themselves up against 
the sky beyond the white Via del Trombe, a skeleton street littered 
with beams and rafters, a rescue party bearing away a dead body 
recovered from the havoc, and on our left, white against the sky, a 
ruined monastery, one of Santa Teresa's. More memorable still are 
the "Old Houses at Messina" (No. 150), a vast pyramid of ravaged 
walls flanked by a forlorn arch, and crowned at tiptop by two almost 
snug little rooms that look like dovecots a trifle startled. Looters 
and rescuers are at work, and looters are the more numerous, for 
they run off with violoncellos and other things that virtue would 
forget after an earthquake. Dean Swift would have liked such 
mordant satire. He had no love for tiny and trivial human beings; 
and here an earthquake seems to invite satire, being more picturesque 
than terrible in the aspect of gaunt ruins. Here, too, we owe much 
more to the etching-needle than to clever manipulation of able 
printing methods. 


One Messina plate is called "The Church of The Holy Ghost" (No. 
151, 28I" by 22I"). The church is in the mid-distance on our 
right and overawed by a formidable sky, and by a huge, yawning 
house that rules over the etching with Dantean power. Very gladly 
would I delete some human figures from this wreckage, this grand 
tragedy of the ruined inanimate. Man has no rightful place here. 
He has been routed, and an earthquake reigns posthumously among 
her sepulchres of desolation. Any animate life would be more 
impressive than that of feeble ordinary men, with their long ladders 
and their straggling much-ado. A pack of dogs baying to the hot 
sun, or rats in marching order emigrating from the ruins to a home 
unknown, would be more concordant with our artist's grand realiza- 
tion of human futility when Nature sets to work with her high 
explosives. Viewed as a whole, however, this great work is true 
incantation. It employs no jugglery. 

Only a few monuments were uninjured by the Messian earthquake. 
No harm was done to a Monument of the Virgin, the Immacolata 
di Marmor, a tall shrine of the seventeenth century ; and Brangwyn 
represents it surrounded by adoring outcasts, modern houses behind, 
bleak, dark, and shattered, with empty windows through which a 
sunrise glows. Human figures are welcome here, the inspiration 
being one of prayer and self-fear, with hope at a nearing distance. 
In this plate greeny-gray ink is employed, and the shrine receives a 
golden light from the dawn — that perpetual spring in time's rough 
journey from the eternal old into fresh variations of life's hackneyed 

Then there is "The Headless Crucifix" in a ruined church at Mes- 
sina (No. 152). As a rapid sketch it is finely seen, it is deeply felt, 
it is most expressive and apt ; perhaps too expressive in two fore- 
ground figures, newsmongers, one of whom has a bald head and a 
back that smirks in a courtier's bow. And this irony is foiled by the 
undamaged pilasters carrying a round arch above the crucifix. 
As for the "Church of the Sta. Chiara del Carmine, at Taormina" 
(No. 153), it has a somewhat splashy handicraft which looks slightly 
boastful to me, though not a braggart like the sketchiness to be found 
in a ragged and corrupt old bystreet at St. Cirq (No. 198), where 
three men are whispering such plots and plans as Eugene Sue would 
have liked to concoct for reprobate alleys and lanes past praying for. 
Similar qualities mark a few recent plates. There is the "Porte 
St. Jacques, Parthenay" (No. 203), and "Notre Dame at Poitiers'" 


(No. 201), both effective, but I 
prefer the controlled technique of 
"The Headless Crucifix," or the 
study that enriches some old houses 
at Meaux, a tannery at Parthenay 
(No. 202), or a handsome and 
elderly cafe at Tours (No. 205). 
And there's "A Street in Puy" — 
a genuine "find." What fanciful- 
ness the old French builders often 
massed together as into a mosaic 
of quaint architecture ! 
Everyone knows how apt Brang- 
wyn is when he sketches at what 
I may call high sprinting speed, 
covering a mile at a pace that 
other men might find too hot in a 
quarter-mile. A retentive memory 
for shapes, colours, general im- 
pressions, aids his selective eye- 
sight that detaches observed things and their effects at once into a 
sort of magnified focus ; and these two natural gifts, stimulated by 
practice and experience, nourish his Iberian sensitiveness with 
excitants, and set in motion a hand that unites unusual grip and 
vigour to a swiftness unrivalled among artists of our time. For 
years we have seen these productions of his genius; there's nothing 
unfamiHar to us in their nimble-footed qualities, so muscular and 
well-nerved; and hence he does well from time to time to explore 
quieter moods and more meditative inspirations. 
Thrifty dry-points would be natural off-shoots from "Old Hammer- 
smith," so would bitten work in pure, ripe outline, and his followers 
everywhere would value them more than they value even "The 
Gateway of Avila," a masterful sketch in a familiar mood and 
method. Such vehemence as that which informs the nefarious alley 
at St. Cirq. (No. 198) is less attractive than "A Back Street in 
Naples" (No. 191), because it has no self-denial; and even this 
"Back Street in Naples" seems to come — not from the most medi- 
tated parts of "Old Hammersmith" and "Old Houses, Ghent," but 
— from looser portions of their handicraft. Though a very good 
croquis, it does not extend our knowledge of what Brangwyn can do 


when he muhiplies himself, or what he has done and should do with 
his etching-point. 

Let us look upon the best work of genius as the voice of an original 
artist, a dual voice, physical and spiritual, and let us believe it is a 
truism that genius should never be set either to overdo its natural 
notes and harmonies or to neglect any weak note that can be 
strengthened and improved. Every genius has weak notes, with 
imperfect chords and timbres; and always they are very noticeable 
in prolific geniuses, like Rubens among painters and Sir Walter 
Scott and Dumas among imaginative penmen. They are noticeable 
also in Brangwyn; and since 1910, side by side with many varied 
productions that the world will not let die, he has done much that 
I describe as his daily journalism, because it is to his racing 
hand what newspaper articles are to H. G. Wells and to Arnold 

Are we to believe that prolific painters and etchers are as fortunately 
placed as prolific writers ? It is right to remember that they give 
hostages in gilt frames to fortune. Their journalism is kept, it is 
sold at auctions ; so it does not come and go with a day, like volatile 
party politics that flow into newspapers from some of our novelists. 
Portaels said to me one day, speaking of a prolific painter, " I've 
told him not to forget that frequent sketches when sold continuously 
are to a reputation what barnacles are to ships. They collect upon 
it, they clog and hamper it, and may send it all at once into port — 
perhaps to be neglected, perhaps even to be regarded as out of date." 
When I think over these excellent words, I cannot help believing 
that it is from patient moods, apt self-denial, that Brangwyn now 
adds new good villages and towns to his own kingdom. 
His Cyclopean "Gate at Naples," with the graceful and lofty church 
behind (No. 172), is a descendant from that which is best in "Old 
Hammersmith," and the contrast between it and the suavely rich 
and sumptuous " Bridge of Sighs," or the nobly-handled framework 
of "Building a Ship" (No. 195), comes from a dramatizing aptness 
of judgment which a master hand cannot employ too variously. It 
is this gift that makes Brangwyn a master of crowd aspects. He 
understands human moods when the crowd temper sways them, and 
now he has to prove that big figures also can be put well into large 
etchings charmed with great architecture. 

Those men who live with mankind after they are dead, and whose 
shades might often revisit our world if our adulation did not shock 


their humility, are the men of genius who teach us to see in men of 
a day what is human for ever, and also how artists can and should 
make wise concessions to common men and harassed lives. When 
Brangwyn is not at his best it is never because he has any scorn for 
those to whom he appeals. No artist can be freer from esthetic 
snobbery, with prattle about sweetness and light, and Philistines and 
vulgar tradesmen, and sordid city men, and so forth. His whole life 
is given, and has been given, to the reunion of art and ordinary 
people; and hence he agrees with W. R. Lethaby, who is always 
thoughtful : — 

"It is a pity to make a mystery of what should be most easily understood. 
There is nothing occult about the thought that all things may be made 
well or made ill. A work of art is a well-made thing, that is all. It may 
be a well-made statue or a well-made chair or a well-made book. Art is 
not a special sauce applied to ordinary cooking; it is the cooking itself if it 
is good. Most simply and generally art may be thought of as The Well- 
Doing of What Needs Doing. If the thing is not worth doing it can 
hardly be a work of art, however well it may be made. A thing worth 
doing which is ill done is hardly a thing at all. Fortunately people are artists 
who know it not— bootmakers (the few left), gardeners and basketmakers, 
and all players of games. . . . Our art critics might occupy quite a useful 
place if they would be good enough to realise that behind the picture shows 
of the moment is the vast and important art of the country— the arts of 
the builder, furniture-maker, printer, and the rest, which are matters of 
national well-being." 

More than any man of art in our time Brangwyn merits our 
gratitude, and invites return visits from us all, since his work in so 
many versatile ways roots itself among needs of everyday strife and 
the restoration of British workmanship. We leave his etchings 
now for other productions, all springing from his passion for life as 
it is, that noisy welter of human toil and effort which is foiled often 
mto such sinister and tragic aspects by a sweet serene grace nestling 
with the ages around old village spires and towers, and around 
minsters and other churches, soot -begrimed, in our commercial 
towns and cities. 

It has been suggested that I have used the word " art " too many 
times. It is a word staled by misuse, no doubt. Theatrical com- 
panies are noted for their art, like music-halls and orchestras. Is it 
not true that chorus girls could not believe more firmly in their art 
if they were spoiled sopranos.? Even a hurried barber, who shaves 


you till blood comes, a notable experience, consoles himself by 
assuming that his art may rise through blunders into skill. Perhaps 
the word " artist " may become popular as a synonym for " man " 
and " woman," though not, I fear, for " mother " and " father," as 
mothers and fathers are never mentioned among to-day's artists. I 
wonder why. Is it because they do create t Is it because their 
babies have wee hands beautiful enough to defeat Phidias and 
Praxiteles ? 

Yet this word art, misused as it is, has the virtue of being crisp and 
short ; and if we accept it as meaning all good work done well for 
a nation's honour and service, we cannot do harm, nor can we 
invite ridicule. Mr. A. Glutton Brock, an inspiriting writer always, 
believes that the word " design " has a more precise meaning than 
the word art. No doubt he is right, right in the main ; but good 
design as good workmanship can and should come from quite 
ordinary talents that take loving pains, while art in the higher sense 
comes only from true genius. Let the word art be design and 
genius also. Then small men and great men will be united by 
a common respect for thoroughness. 

1 60 

■'^. ■■■ . 




xS>: ^ 

*■> >'^ 








t a time when a just and necessary 
War accumulates colossal debts, 
with other handicaps, which new 
generations will have to bear, no 
sane man would write a book on 
art unless he had the will to keep clearly before his mind what his 
native land needs from art, if common lives and common daily toil 
are to be improved; and since Brangwyn all through his Hfe has 
shown in many ways that real progress comes from work which is 
worth doing as a joy, and not for wages only, let us try to see how 
certain ideas and duties which he, with some other big men, has 
obeyed, should be applied to our national welfare. His genius and 
experience can be of great use to the State, sometimes in advice 
given and sometimes in work done. 

For a man who has designed excellent carpets and admirable stained 
glass, good furniture and fine panelled rooms, beautiful books, like 
the Belgian Book, and welcome posters for our streets; who has 
added to these public benefits great work as an etcher and greater as 
a master of decorative painting, is an artist to be employed by the 
State during that regeneration through which our life and our crafts 
and our towns must be made to pass gradually and wisely, after we 
begin to settle from armed strife, with its gnawing fever and peril, 
into the unarmed competitions named peace. If men of this rare 
sort are not employed as national servants after this long ordeal by 
battle, huckstering compromise will begin once more to misrule. 
Historians note, with abundant evidence, that the English as a people 
are proudly unimaginative, except in busy self-deception. We know 
little as a nation about our past history, and care little for great 
dreams that our youngsters ought to make into realities. Unless we 
have imagination, that sun among spiritual gifts, no fact of ample 
magnitude, whether friendly or threatening, can be seen all around 
and entire. Again and again, by long self-neglect united to cock- 
sureness, our countrymen have asked Providence to let England die; 
and another matter must be looked steadily in the face. National 
character alters with such gradual slowness that its old and recent 
actions are always our best guides when we wish by means of fore- 
thought to safeguard our country from her worst foes — her civilians. 
Y i6i 

After Waterloo, in all matters of self-defence, her civilians fell half- 
asleep ; after the Crimea, with its muddles and its frostbitten bravery, 
they repeated the same folly ; and again also after the Boer War, de- 
spite Germany's braggart policy, w^ith warnings from British vigilants 
led by Lord Roberts. Is there to be yet another repetition after the 
present cataclysm? Yes — if men of genius do not act together and 
prevent its coming. There have been so many harmful strikes during 
this war, and the public has bemused itself with so much canting 
make-believe, and has thronged with such eagerness to rubbishy plays 
and amusements, that we have no right to suppose that ordinary 
civilians have been transfigured since 19 14. Englishmen returning 
home from Ruhleben have been greatly shocked by many of London's 
aspects; and at the beginning of 19 18 a noble protest was written 
and printed by a veteran genius, Mr. Frederic Harrison, who, after 
five years in Bath, returned to London : — 

"How odious is the rush, the scramble, the roar of the many streets, — far 
worse than in 191 2. ... It shocks, wounds, disgusts me, as if, with the 
poet, I were in one of the circles of the Inferno. Modern mechanism has 
brutalized life. And in this ratde and clash and whirl, wild luxury, games, 
shows, gluttony and vice work their Vanity Fair with greater recklessness 
than ever. As I walked about streets blazing with gems and gold, and 
every form of extravagance, I asked myself — and is this the war for very 
life of a great race? If the Kaiser could come and see it all, he would say, 
*I shall conquer yet, for all they threaten me!'"* 

Even a little imagination would make such silly vice impossible. It 
would bring before all reputable minds the exalted sacrifice shown by 
young men from day to day and month to month, while we at home 
benefit. It would humble us into reverence; and it is equally true 
that if ordinary men and women are to possess the right forethought 
and the right magnanimous sentiment, those who are not ordinary, 
but extraordinary by inborn qualities, must set and keep lofty ex- 
amples. As Lord Morley has written: "It is a commonplace that 
the manner of doing things is often as important as the things done. 
And it has been pointed out more than once that England's most 
creditable national action constantly shows itself so poor and mean 
in expression that the rest of Europe can discern nothing in it but 
craft and sinister interest. Our public opinion is often rich in wisdom^ 

* Fortnightly Review for January, 1918. 

but we lack the 
courage of our wis- 
dom. We execute 
noble achievements, 
and then are best 
pleased to find 
shabby reasons for 

So it is imperative 
to cry out always 
for a quality known 
as grandeur, and also 
for candour and pre- 
vision, qualities that 
slay cant and herald 
grandeur alike in 
thought and expres- 
sion and action. 
Nearly all problems 
to be solved after 
this war's ending — 
enormous housing 
problems, for example, and habits of inferior workmanship — take 
their rise from a talkative self-deception eager to be gulled by phrases 
and unwilling to be worried by untoward facts. Year after year 
plain duties have been put aside as of no account, while games and 
other amusements, such as fads and illusions, have fired our national 
enthusiasm. Work has not been viewed as fair or unfair play to the 
nation's present and future. It has been looked on as a thing of 
wages and incomes, accompanied by strikes, much slacking, and a 
vast production of mere rubbish. 

In book after book on British homes I have put these facts in italics, 
and to-day Mr. Glutton Brock makes the same appeal for national 
honour shown in reputable workmanship. Mr. Brock says with 
blunt candour: "You cannot have civilization where the lives of 
millions are sacrificed to produce rubbish for thousands who do not 
enjoy it when it is produced. That means a perpetual conflict grow- 
ing always more bitter until it leads back to barbarism. This is not 
a political matter, and it cannot be settled by a political struggle. 

On Compromhe, pp. 9-I0. 


So long as a workman has to produce rubbish he will not be satisfied 
with his work or with his life, no matter how large his wages may 
be or how short bis hours. . . . Therefore the public, when they 
buy rubbish, are not merely wasting their own money, they are 
wasting also the lives of men and fomenting a profound and dangerous 
anger against themselves." 

For thirty years I have worked for the same creed, advocating many 
practical things. For example, every town should have a showroom 
where the best work done by the town's craftsmen could be seen and 
studied; aad townsfolk everywhere should be organized against a 
dual tyranny, a tyranny of excessive rents and jerried houses, foisted 
upon our public by unfair speculators, who are often aided by house 
agents.* Men of genius alone can lead with success both in these 
and in other needs; they should begin at once to form a league for 
the common good and to make fitting plans. The Design and In- 
dustries Society seems to be a vigorous young body around which 
they should rally, and each should add to the common stock his own 
experiences of public neglect and official blundering. 
Brangwyn's experiences would be invaluable. Let me give in brief 
just two examples chosen from many. He offered to do as a gift a 
large decorative painting for the Victoria and Albert Museum, yet 
his good public spirit, which in France would have been welcomed 
with joy and gratitude, was put aside by bureaucratic sleepiness. 
And then an American city commissioned him to paint for Cleveland 
Court House, Ohio, a great series of historical pictures! Only old- 
fogeyism among sleek officials, or a nation that has passed her prime, 
would send our Brangwyns to Panama Exhibitions, Cleveland Court 
Houses, and other foreign places, when they ought to be collected 
for Labour Halls, and Seamen's Clubs, and other popular institutions 
at home. Good heavens ! Are we so rich in brave mural paintings 
that we can afford to send a rare genius to colonize among other 
nations ? Is national welfare never to have a fair chance ? 
Again, for a long time Brangwyn has given much thought to many 
aspects of our streets, because he sees clearly that the decisive test of 
the common good is to be found — not in Acts of Parliament, and not in 
words written and spoken, however just and impassioned, but — among 
outdoor citizen facts, in new architecture that great cities accept, and 

* It is a wrong principle that grants higher pay to a house agent who helps to raise 
high rents or to keep excessive rents from falling. House agents ought to serve 
householders, and their pay should be regulated like the fees of family doctors. 


in other signs and tokens of street-bred customs and manners, such 
as the degree of Hking shown toward venerable buildings. Phrases 
are apt either to rise into illusions or to sink into popular fudge, 
while outdoor facts are so evident as witnesses of current social 
character, or want of character, that even blind men can feel their 

More than once, as at the Coronation of King George, Brangwyn 
has wished to show his solicitude for London streets by fitting some 
of them for a national festival; but his zeal in this direction has en- 
countered official politeness, delay, evasion, and what Milton describes 
with scorn as "a queasy temper of lukewarmness." There is a great 
deal to be shaken from lethargy, and there are many to be broomed 
out of office, if men with genius are to be free to act as doers and 
inspirers of public work well done. 



larly in 1917, while pressmen 
[raised their eyes from bad war- 
niaps and prattled rosily about 
spring and summer campaigns, I 
jtook a holiday for about five 
weeks among London's minor highways and meanest byways. Have 
you tried this holiday ? It is good enough to be an obligation upon 
us all, and especially upon Cabinet Ministers and other politicians, 
who should pass through its many lessons before they ask us to re- 
gard them as rulers and statesmen. It was my aim to see what men 
of Brangwyn's metal might do for the capital of our Empire if they 
held a Congress year by year and told frigid truths about that leprosy 
of meanness, that sinister populace of wretched ill-bred streets, by 
which our city is hugely blotched. 

Bleak and bad weather threw its chill upon me, sometimes damp 
like a half-frozen sponge, at other times a splashing puddle of sticky 
mud; and now and then it was foul with a repulsive mist or tenta- 
tive fog, a noisome twilight dishonouring even to the down-at-heel 
shabbiness through which I made my way as an explorer of London's 
bad workmanship. 

Here and there was a fully modernized public-house, a flashing 
strumpet in Thirst's own realm, plying her trade with a gaudy leer 
of invitation. Many a kinema show gathered an audience too poor 
to be clean, yet well enough off to be swift after pleasure ; and many 
a minor highway, broad, noisy, tumultuous, and reeking with shabby 
business, was multi-coloured with motor-'buses, with traffic of many 
sorts, and pleading shop windows, all overthronged with ill-arranged 
things and vainglorious advertisements. 

There seemed to be no intellect anywhere, but just an automatic rush 
and roar, with a peculiar barbarity all its own. Had true Citizen- 
ship really lost even that personal dignity which many savages keep 
in Nature's wild presence? Had it become a mechanism for earning 
money anyhow by means of rival competitive routines.? Very often 
pavements were blocked with competitors, and roadways were con- 
gested with their twin tides of routine movement, causing me to 
think of human bodies when phlebitis clogs their veins. But yet a 


pilgrim through meaner London learns very soon that busier high- 
ways are least educative, having so much in common that they are 
commonplace, at least more often than not. Downgoing districts 
and byways have more character, as a rule, more personality ; and 
among these slums I found many examples of that wastrelism in 
brick and stone and poverty that our overgrown city has accumulated. 
Though I walked at random wherever I could see dirt and gloom 
and what looked like the depraved picturesque, not an adventure 
came to me. Perhaps a shabby overcoat and cap gave me right to 
go anywhere as a native ; but certain it is that I received no insult, 
nor did I see much drunkenness. I passed through so many housing 
problems, new and old, that I gambled in guineas by the hundred 
million when I tried to estimate how much it would cost to lift up 
the seemingly bathless portions of meaner London, and to give them 
for disciplined use rational decencies of a true home lite. Our 
London County Council would do useful work if it could make 
known as a public penance how many baths London houses possess, 
and how many times they are used weekly. My pilgrimage took 
me through several neighbourhoods where stench from a crowd 
remained as acid in my throat, and I remembered those medical men 
who, when examining unclean recruits for our Army, had suffered 
too much through their noses to be fit for their diagnoses. Dithy- 
rambs about freedom and progress are all very well, but a prelude of 
cold truth about soap and water is better sense and patriotism. 
One pretty episode full of pathos I did see — in a toul corner of a 
grimy suburb. Just before dark I came upon five dirty little girls, 
not more than six or seven years old, who, while dancing slowly in 
a circle, shrilled the first verse of "Onward, Christian Soldiers." 
The wee things moved like clockwork figures, and sang like gramo- 
phones; no feeling lit up their worn faces; and their circular dance 
went on and on, with a quiet sedate rhythm, until some pennies put 
buns and toffee into their minds. How had it come to pass that, in 
the year a.d. 19 17, and in the wealthiest city^ of the wealthiest 
Empire, I should find these half-starved children and their drotchel 
suburb, while a thousand noisepapers and more boasted over mys- 
terious things called civilization and freedom? And thought being 
as free as wind, I wanted to know why a nation that looked on at 
strikes while a war was raging to preserve her life, had never known 
a down-at-heel district which put aside its tools for the orderly pur- 
pose of advertising its vile lot as aA outcast from proper citizenship. 



For a long time I feared to summon before my mind, in sharp focus, 
a great many horrid impressions, and this fear of seeing hateful truth 
clearly had its rise among several harrowing things. 
I had seen far too much that was tainted and unsound, and pregnant 
with ill-omened prospects. Day after day a most untoward word 
came into my mind, a descriptive word that patriotism rebels against 
fiercely, because it is t® living affairs and a body social what the 
word putrescent is to dead bodies. If eye-evidence compels us to 
believe that big parts of a capital city are decadent, how can we help 
feeling that decadence is in complete antagonism with our country's 
future .? But when I knew that homecomers from Ruhleben were 
startled by many of London's aspects, and that Mr. Frederic Harri- 
son had put into plain words his disenchantment, I drew together 
into a ground-plan my facts and impressions. Things that foretell 
nothing at all good cannot be examined too soon, since an autopsy is 
apt to come if a correct diagnosis be put c^ too long. 
As I went from a gloomy neighbourhood to a sluttish district, and 
watched the cringing zeal with which edition after edition of our 
incessant noisepapers trafficked for pennies with scraps of war news 
headlined and magnified, it seemed to me that business was baseborn 
cynicism. Since then, from a large poster. Sir William Robertson 
has asked the people not to put overmuch trust in material chariots 
and horses, and Sir David Beatty, following Lord Roberts, has pleaded 
for reverence and a spirit that prays. Not a trace of such thought- 
fulness did I meet with anywhere in my wayfaring. 
Poster after poster, in words of journalese either too smugly clever, 
or flamboyant and odious,* missed the heart and soul of a vast war 
tor life. Let us hope that only few of our war posters will be 
delivered down to historians. Apart from some pictorial appeals, 
among which Brangwyn's come easily first, our national efforts by 
poster and placard have been generally wasteful and confusing, at times 
frenzied and degrading, and too often mawkish and self-righteous. 
Democracy was to be wooed and won by coaxing, soothing, plead- 
ing, shrieking, and cringing. 

Each of us must judge from his own experience what effects were 
produced by pouring tropical journalism into placards and posters 

* An example must be given. Here are four poster questions addressed by self- 
righteous cant to the Women of England, when "our liveliest publicity men" and 
" our most astute party managers" were trying not only to show the world " what free- 

1 68 


for our streets. Often the well-to-do tried to believe that perhaps, 
after all, democracy might need such appeals ; but they were wrong 
as a rule. It is the half-illiterate, not the genuine poor, on whom 
good work with its quiet candour and honesty makes but little im- 
pression. Artists of every sort would much sooner try to influence 
a public of genuine poor than try to sway with their best work 
either the half-illiterate or society dilettante split up into groups and 
sects. Poor folk were not often attracted by screaming and caddish- 
ness from bad posters. As Mr. F. S. Oliver has said: "The simplest 
and least sophisticated minds are often the severest critics in matters 
of taste as well as morals. And this [poster propaganda] was a 
matter of both. Among townspeople as well as countryfolk there 
were many who — whether they believed or disbelieved in the urgent 
need, whether they responded to the appeal or did not respond to 
it — regarded the whole of this 'publicity campaign' with distrust 
and dislike, as a thing which demoralised the country, which was 
revolting to its honour and conscience, and in which the King's 
name ought never to have been used." 

From this antithesis of true art, this diffused weak judgment, have 
come many mistakes in propaganda, statecraft, and social discipline. 
Consider three : 

I. It was believed that journalism, either flaming or hysterical, 
would be much nearer to democracy than art in cool and quiet man- 
agement — that is, than sound work done with judgment and pride 
for given purposes and known places. So art and artists were gener- 
ally snubbed and flouted. 

born Englishmen would stand," but also what freeborn Englishwomen must do if they 

wished to save Government from the perils of governing boldly and wisely : — 

" I. You have read what the Germans have done in Belgium. Have you thought what 

they would do if they invaded England ? 

" 2. Do you realise that the safety of your Home and Children depends on our getting 

more men now ? 

" 3- 1^0 you realise that the one word ' Go ' from you may send another man to fight for 

our King and our Country .'' 

" 4. When the War is over and your husband or your son is asked ' What did you do 

in the great War '>. ' — is he to hang his head because you would not let him go .? 

" Women of England ! Do your duty ! Send your men to-day to join our glorious 


Was there ever before in this world such caddish appeals during a war for a great 
nation's life ? To coerce women by posters rather than use an equable compulsion 
ordered by Parliament for the purpose of enlisting men fairly ! What will historians 
think and say .' Will they like our wondrous national virtue as volunteers in a noble 
and peremptory cause } 

z 169 

2. It was believed that words, inevitably, were more democratic 
than form and colour and fit design, as if our nation's memory for 
words were boundless. 

3. And it was believed, too, that our streets were — not open-air 
exhibitions of concrete workmanship, in which worthy pictorial 
appeals had an increasing value, but — mere offshoots of our noise- 
paper press. 

Artists of every sort were most eager to help as orderly and reason- 
able patriots, but the tyranny of words, words, words, held office. 
For instance, a Committee of Architects, who represented their 
profession entirely, prepared a scheme for building military huts, 
with able men of known name attached to it for all districts in 
Great Britain; but this work had one drawback. It was not an 
apotheosis of amateur much ado and haste; it was only a work of 
true art, thorough, entirely fit for its purpose, and therefore as frugal 
in its costs as it could be made without ceasing to be the sound and 
appropriate work called art. When delivered at the right quarters 
this fine scheme was praised; and yet officials made no use of its 
excellence, though military huts were built by hundreds. Let soldiers 

declare how, and officials at 
what cost. To be employed 
by those who rule, or misrule, 
you must be of their company. 
How often in modernized 
affairs do bounce and brag 
displace brain and honest work- 
manship ? 

Again, Brangwyn was eager to 
fix his mind upon doing fit 
recruiting posters as a gift in 
national service, so he tried to 
bring his desire to Lord Kit- 
chener's notice. With what 
result? He was told to apply 
to the advertisement depart- 
ment of our War Office. Ad- 
vertisement departments are 
right enough for pills, soaps, 
jerried furniture, dead editions 



of encyclopaedias, and other selling virtues in need of electrical 
overpraise; but a great nation's grapple for life needs untiring thought 
with candour, truth, dignity, true inspiration, and some other quali- 
ties also that "the livest publicity men" don't welcome often as 
marketable blandishments. To send a great artist to a publicity 
department is like asking a Tennyson to write pufFs on Green Gloves 
for Girls of Garrulous and Gracious Forty, or Scarlet Soaps for 
Sinners, Sane and Insane. 

Even our War Correspondents have caught the publicity craze, 
collecting oddments of news likely to glut a morbid appetite, while 
harrowing anxious and thoughtful persons. They have written 
columns each during a day's fight, and have told us daily what we all 
know — that our troops are as brave as their forerunners, and thus as 
brave as the brave can be; while they have put out of mind the 
need of war perspective and the imperative duty of teaching us to 
weigh and measure our foe's generalship and his fighting power. 
All along the line, in fact, publicity has implied that a war for life 
must be connected somehow with kinema shows and the sale of 
patent medicines, though the greatest peril of war is that it sets in 
action cerebral disturbances harmful to cool thought and right 

If the publicity campaign had been put under the control of true 
artists — painters, sculptors, architects, men of letters, and some women 
of genius also — no flamboyant and crapulous methods would have 
been tolerated, and our native land would not be ashamed to hand 
on to posterity how and what her people advertised while fighting 
for her life as a free old nation. 

How can it ever be wise to banish our national dignity into a Barnum 
show? Even Whistler's portrait of his Mother — a great act of filial 
piety, which seems too private to be well placed even among master- 
pieces in a public museum — was turned into a war poster, so eager 
were "the livest publicity men" to flaunt their peacebred vulgarity. 
Yet Mr. Lovat Eraser, a devotee of candour, has deplored njoith a 
certain surprise the wonderful capacity for self-deception which our 
country has exercized since August, 19 14. Nearly all self-deception 
has come, and come inevitably, from journalism and its offshoot in- 



A wit has said that things exquisitely Enghsh are almost sure to be 
entirely irrational, whether we see them in fights against huge odds 
or in national delay, indecision, and what not besides. As we make 
in war a game fight for life while keeping our old strikes between 
labour and capital, so among municipal affairs we are overapt to halt 
waveringly, yet complacently, in a zone parting "never mind" from 
civic pride and probity. It is a matter of bad custom, and often it 
makes fools of us all. 

Beaconsfield mocked at the intermittent zest with which London 
had muddled her opportunities when she had tried to ennoble her- 
self by means of building enterprise by Act of Parliament. Let us 
hope that his banter and ridicule will be used as guides, when, the 
war ended and renovation begun, town after town will try to keep 
labour strife as far off as possible by attacking many benighted housing 
perils, though abnormal prices for building materials will rule. Since 
we scorned with dismay the need of putting into Lord Roberts's 
plans a national life insurance of only five or ten millions a year* 
there may be a grave official wish after this war to get health and 
safety from some attitude of charming folly in wrong thrift towards 
our national housing affairs. To advocate, with plausible business 
pleas, the scamping of vast jobs for the people is easier than to bring 
into dominant favour the art of earning all the good that can be v/on 
out of civic and national reforms, because ordinary minds are at ease 
with hole-and-corner ideas, reasons, arguments, pkns; and after this 
war, of course, money will be "tight," as some hundreds of millions 
a year, for who knows how many generations, will be spent merely 
as interest upon debts incurred since 1914. 

There may be a tough effort by civil engineers to settle themselves 
among housing problems between architects and our people's welfare. 
They are able men of their own affairs, these engineers; alert, con- 
fident, patient, bluntly persuasive, crisply suave ; and if they wish to 
show that they can do overmuch with too little and for not enough, 
they have a case around which they can spin webs of seductive 
-figures ; but their successful diplomacy would be a bad thing indeed 
for work that counts as cottage and street architecture. What we 
need, no doubt, is a Board of True Artists, with first-rate architects 
to have most sway within their own provinces; and we need also a 

* At present (September, 1918) daily costs of the war come to about ;^7, 000,000 ! 
Was the act of defeating Lord Roberts's foresight costly enough ? 


small Committee of True Artists 
not only to pass judgment once a 
year on London's aspects, but also 
to read its verdict, with its pro- 
posals, at a Congress open to 
citizens chosen to represent all 
districts. And other cities and 
towns need Watch Committees of 
this good sort. Not a town among 
those that live and toil amid our 
industrialized stress and strain has 
a general citizenship at all wide- 
awake toward streets as art 
museums for the people, where 
there should ever be a scrupulous 
regard for good work put in places 
where its fitness will be a public 
joy and a benefit. A public joy ; 
for we need not be chilled by the 
common belief that most eyes and most minds care not at all 
how much civic patchwork and muddle be kept in vogue. Though 
most people grow into bad surroundings, and custom reconciles 
most of us to bad habits, yet a change from bad to good among 
outward things and prospects makes its coming instantly felt by that 
inward life which is best worth living. Even caged birds love their 
improved lot if you take them from a dull, chill room into a sunny 
one. And as long as human creatures feel sunlight with joy, they 
have, and will keep, a capacity to improve, however sapped by un- 
toward influences their high interests may be. 

Londoners have one great foe in their climate and another in their 
citizen character, which is diffused among many big townships and 
village communities by which our scattered nation-city is made up 
loosely. A climate bleak and wet, and often misty (when it is not 
soot-laden into fog), is in need of every ordered gaiety that wise 
management can get from colour — colour in architecture, in well- 
dressed shop-windows, and well-chosen posters, in letter-boxes also, 
and metal standards for electric light, in 'buses, motor-cars and trams, 
and in everything else where good taste can be active as a public 
need and boon under proper guidance from true artists like Brangwyn 
and Lutyens With a general improvement in colour aspects and 

architectural aspects of London's streets there will come, and come 
inevitably, a general improvement in citizen feeling for London as a 
whole. At present she is an enormous overgrown 3isunity of shreds 
and patches ; and also a place where a small income is often tragical, 
as it cannot well afford to pay an average rent, with season tickets, 
'bus fares, and so forth. 

Yet these and other urgent matters are generally skipped over by 
those who write and talk with fluent ease about improving London. 
Most reformers are apt to think that castles in the air are more ador- 
able than rude spadework among workaday facts and evident needs 
grown decrepit after long neglect. Reformers improve, or try to 
improve, the better parts of London ; are eager even to prattle about 
beautifying our parks and public gardens, which bestow on London 
all the sweet air freshness with which she smiles fitfully upon us; 
but how often do they shock their gentle asstheticism by visiting 
slums and faked suburbs and those sere, gloomy districts where in- 
dustrialism has set up her quarters? Let improvement begin where 
it is wanted most of all, namely, in those places where little incomes 
and the poor make shift. 


So a Watch Committee of True Artists would have a great many 
things to weigh and measure during annual motor journeys through 
London, accompanied by several photographers to collect camera 
facts to be shown at a yearly Congress. Let us suppose that this 
committee included Brangwyn, Lutyens, Derwent Wood, and four 
or five other men of genius who link art with our common lot. Of 
course I don't say that this Watch Committee is at all possible. Too 
well do I know, after thirty-eight years in the strife of art, how 
the reunion of art with the people and the people with art is hindered 
by twin evils. 

First, most authority over London's art has been annexed by narrow 
little sects, whose placemen find their way into all posts of honour in 
public galleries and museums, and whose pride is envious when 
earnest men outside their aims win and wield some influence. There 
are even officials in public galleries who write for noisepapers about 
matters that affect the art markets. They call themselves art critics, 
in fact, forgetting that no public servant has a moral right to influence 
the rise and fall of prices by reviewing the work produced by 
living men, men with families to rear and debts to be paid weekly 


and quarterly. No official in our Treasury would be allowed to write 
for the Press on stocks and shares and companies; no official in our 
Foreign Office would dare to give tips in the Press to financial 
gamblers; and physicians have to give up private practice as soon as 
they become Medical Officers of Health. So it is utterly wrong 
that any man in a public museum should write on current art for 
the Press. There's no law to compel him to be a servant of the 
State, and he should be far too busy in his official duties to have 
time and physical energy for another profession also. His writings 
should be published by his department and should be sold at cost 
prices, or nearly so, for the people's benefit. More than once I have 
protested in print against this evil. When are the societies of art 
going to act for our common good? 

Then there are certain groups of old fogeys — not all old fogeys are 
elderly, remember, nor aged — who get themselves upon art com- 
mittees, and as naturally as oil circulates through grime on rusty 
locks. They have had long practice among devious tactics of talk, 
talk, talk. An international exhibition sets them agog with suave 

fuss and flurry (perhaps a Knighthood may be won); and if they 

wish to entangle a committee in a labyrinth of heated argument they 

know how to be as troublesome as they are smooth and polite and 

adept. In brief, they are stock committeemen by nature and training. 

Still, we can do no harm if we suppose that a good Watch Committee, 

with Brangwyn and Lutyens as essential to it, can be formed. Let 

us sum up, very briefly, some of its work. 

Take the question of colour in architecture. Willian-« De Morgan 

gave much thought to this matter, " 

and Halsey Ricardo, among others, 

has made valuable experiments 

along right lines; but, of course, 

good ideas must be ordered into:a 

growing system if they are to 

have any progressive influence 

upon our streets. Lustred tiles for , 

roofs merit wide consideration, for 

rain would keep them clean, and 

architects would be inspired to 

build higher roofs, and to put 

concordant notes of colour in 
-walls and windows and woodwork. 


Several sculptors have done in colour some very able ornamental slabs, 
w^ith strong incised lines and a decorative charm full of breadth ; and 
this and similar vi^ork would enrich many street buildings, and it would 
call attention also to the sort of business that a big firm carries on. 
A shipping office, for instance, should be known at once as a shipping 
office ; a Board of Trade should bear on its fa9ade decorative signs 
and tokens of its duties ; and this right suggestion applies also to a 
War Office and the Admiralty of a great naval Power. 
To be inapposite is to be weak and small; it slackens moral fibre 
and weakens a public feeling for public duty and high interests. We 
possess naval traditions the substantial elements of whose power are as 
majestic as they are far-flung over troubled centuries. Yet Londoners 
are not astounded that they have no heroic building that belongs 
evidently and with imperial art to their Navy and her traditions. 
Are they ashamed to be apposite and therefore great and free.? And 
note how Westminster Abbey has been rejected as the cardinal key- 
note for all buildings in her neighbourhood. Where the Aquarium 
stood as an eyesore, an edifice has been built with pride by Non- 
conformists, but for what purpose none could guess from anything 
apposite in its architecture. Yes, a Watch Committee of true artists 
would have much to say about the patching of patchwork London. 
Take the lighting of our streets as another example. What a chance 
we have missed here for a great revival of English metal-work, both 
cast and wrought ! We have a glorious light that could shine in 
peacetime through other substances besides glass; thus Alexander 
Fisher could apply one phase of his beautiful enamel to the globes 
of electric-light standards; and what is there to stop well-to-do 
households from lighting their streets in the aptest manner possible.? 
They could ask a Brangwyn to design metal standards, and a Fisher 
to make enamelled globes ; could have the standards cast or wrought 
by first-rate men ; and their district would gladly accept the finished 
work as a gift to good citizenship. Then householders in some 
other streets would follow a good example, taking care to suit their 
needs in a manner concordant with the height of their houses and 
the dominant note of style in their streets' architecture. At present 
we get a dead routine in the place of workmanship that lives ; mere 
metal instead of true art. Dull metal standards of the same sort and 
size, as a rule, stand in streets with low houses and in streets with 
tall houses ; no fitness appears in their colour, or in the design that 
they show before great styles of architecture. And why? Is it not 








because they come from an official system, a municipal routine with 
little more aspiration in it than would clog the foot of a flea? 
Cardinal Newman made gentle game of that very "safe" man who 
adores mistiness as the mother of wisdom; who cannot set down 
half a dozen general propositions which escape from destroying one 
another unless he dilutes them into truisms ; who holds the balance 
between opposites so adeptly as to do without fulcrum or beam; 
who never enunciates a truth without hinting that, as a person full 
of discretion, he cannot exclude the contradictory ; and who feels he 
is marked out by Providence to guide a naughty world through 
narrow channels of no meaning, between the Scylla and Charybdis 
of Aye and No. This dear man, wonderfully sober, most astutely 
temperate, ploddingly dull and insincere, is the man that feels at 
home among official routines ; and his multiplicity accounts for our 
civic woes. He is the widespread foe that a Watch Committee of 
true artists would bump up against, only to find that he yielded like 
rubber and recovered as alertly. 

He would recover with a certain recoil of fierceness if candid remarks 
were made to him about slatternly displays all over London of scream- 
ing and pleading self-advertisers; for this very "safe" man is certain 
that a great capital city exists — not as a well-ordered legacy to be 
handed on, with fine improvements, to every new generation, but — 
as a mere hurly-burly for all who wish to flaunt their self-praise in 
streets, and fields, and against our unoffisnding sun, moon, and stars. 
No wonder Brangwyn is amazed by the zeal with which London is 
defamed by business as usual, by the riotously precipitate self-praise 
of salesmen, who harm our streets and the sky without paying even 
a tiny tax to a city for which they have no true liking. 
Not even a motor-'bus nor a railway station should be free to do just 
what its owners think profitable with a display of jumbled placards, 
posters, and other advertising. It is part and parcel of our city, and 
dependent on our city for every penny that it earns; therefore it 
should be wisely controlled by good taste, and this good taste ought 
to be a municipal affair under the guidance af true artists. As for 
public advertising of shoddy wares it ought to be forbidden, of course, 
and for three sufficient reasons. To make shoddy is to debase work- 
men ; to debase workmen is to injure our people, present and future; 
and to sell shoddy by advertising is as bad as to sell shares in a bogus 
mme by public appeal sanctioned by our city and by Parliament. 
Daily papers are very culpable in this matter, hke our municipalities. 
2 A 177 

They have city editors on the look-out always for company sharks 
and isolated pike. Have they city editors also to keep guard over 
the probity of advertising? No. They advertise for large fees 
almost any shoddy that is not bestial and lev^d. Indeed, as often- as 
not it is the shoddy-makers who advertise most profusely, because 
rates of payment for advertising are too high to be paid by those 
who invest money enough in good work quite fit for its purpose. 
And another point to be stressed is the fact, usually forgotten, that 
advertisers pay for the cost of their headlong self-praise only when 
their advertising fails. When it succeeds buyers "foot the bill," as 
advertising belongs to costs of production. Consider, then, how 
anti-social it is to permit free trade in advertising King Jerry and his 
ebullient zeal. 

As soon as all ethical aspects of this grave national matter are well 
grasped by townsfolk, advertising of every sort will be put under fair 
discipline and will pay to towns or to our State a proper tax for the 
use it makes of our streets, fields, skies, stations, and what not besides. 
Our newspaper press should pay a tax on every column of advertising 
matter that it circulates, and should be responsible to the Board ot 
Trade if it accepts payment in order to help those who sell trash 
with lures of words and pictures. 

Yet these matters are only the beginning of order in a good fight 
for our streets and other public places. A knighthood granted for 
modest veracity from an advertiser would be a great boon to our 
common good. Here and there a modest and a truthful advertiser 
is to be found, by rare good fortune. Recently Brangwyn has done 
several posters for a firm that has no more wish to work miracles 
than to pretend to be Shakespeare. It is content just to put 
its goods quietly before the people in decorative drawings to which 
very few words are attached; and these few words give simple 
facts modestly, not pleading lures noisily. 

But there should be special places for posters of this good sort — and, 
indeed, of every sort; and these places should be designed by our 
best architects, built by our municipalities, and hired at reasonable 
fees to men of business after posters and placards have been accepted 
for publication by proper official judges. Let there be an end of 
go-as-you-please ; of wild licence, with negligence from public 
opinion, and hubbub and lies from a great many advertisers. How 
can a city respect herself when her people don't take care of her? 
Is she a trumpery bazaar for any and every person who increases the 


cost price of his wares by bawling self-praise from megaphone 
hoardings and scrap-album motor-'buses ? Is industrial strife, called 
business as usual, to harden into a fixed routine, with never a protest 
from citizen high thought and right feeling? Let us have as soon 
as we can a great Board of True Artists, and a Watch Committee 
with a will to be thorough. 

One aim in thoroughness, as Brangwyn argues, would be the emi- 
gration of poster design from Trade to History, from lures put before 
buyers to appeals made to patriots. For children and our striking 
classes, youngsters of an older growth in wild oats, cannot see in our 
streets and public places too many fine posters and pictures wherein 
noble and inspiriting deeds from our history — naval, military, social, 
industrial, and philanthropic — are made real with a passion as easy 
for all folk to feel and grasp as a play well acted. Dr. Augustus 
Jessopp proved years ago, by his beautiful serene talks in most able 
addresses, that the English people are not dull toward great history 
when they find a chatty, charming teacher — a voice from bygone 
times in a big soul of to-day. And what words can do, this and 
more can be done by historical posters in our streets if they are 
drawn and coloured by artists of Brangwyn's metal. Every naval 
battle from our country's drama should be present in all minds as a 
series of pictures gathered from national appeals by posters, for 
example, since we are what we are because our seamen in their 
brave deeds have always been magnificently loyal to Our Lady of 
the Sea, to whom Henley sang with the right militancy : — 

" England, my England : — 
Take and break us : we are yours, 

England, my own ! 
Life is good, and joy runs high 
Between English earth and sky ; 
Death is death ; but we shall die 
To the song on your bugles blown, 

England, my own ! — ■ 
To the stars on your bugles blown ! " 

Oh ! If only we civilian English were worthy of historic England ! 
If only we had that vim in self-denial that our seamen and soldiers 
take with their duty into hopes forlorn — and into hopes made real ! 
Who can see, without an emotion quite near to tears, the sere dis- 
tricts that London has collected, or those Victorian and sinister 
" hives of MKlustry " which have devoured many a thousand acres 


from England's green lusty fields, where joy long ran high between 
English earth and sky? 

If the glad temper of our old ballads is to be renewed by English 
people, and if Shakespeare is to displace trash plays as he displaced 
Elizabethan bearpits, true artists of all sorts must put passion into 
their varied work for reforms far too long neglected. Startling facts 
have been disclosed by the medical examination of recruits for our 
Navy and Army. A percentage of physical decadence far too high 
is one price we are paying to slumlands and industrialism. To scorn 
the good work called art, then, is to sow seeds of national degener- 
ation and decline. 

1 80 


e pass on to Brangwyn's posters, 
and let us note well the necessary 
principles by which the most 
genuinely social of all art picto- 
1 rial ought always to be governed, 
however varied their application may be. For two reasons poster- 
work is the most genuinely social of pictorial art: it appeals with 
definite aims to everybody, and it asks for no money from anyone 
who looks at it as good or bad work, and not as mere advertisement. 
At its best it is to modern towns, with their industrial haphazard and 
their frequent apathy toward religion, a real restorative, though not 
what pictures in churches were during those generative periods called 
the Renaissance. Brangwyn has done much to put high thought 
and a big style into recent poster-work ; and he is most eager to do a 
great deal more if it be worth while ; that is, if this most social art 
be ordered in a proper citizen manner. Then artists of standing, 
keen towards national welfare, can give enough time to it, and not 
merely odd hours or days for the purpose of aiding a good charity. 
Years ago Brangwyn made a coloured poster for the Orient Pacific 
Line, and summed up in it most of the simple principles by which 
all work for the poor man's art-gallery in our streets ought to be 
governed. Its motif was a huge steamer, with some little craft not 
only manned by Orientals, but containing also some gay fruit symbols 
of Eastern lands to which the steamer went on needful affairs. Here 
is a subject that has a general interest ; it stirs the drops of Viking 
blood in our veins ; and it gives full scope to Brangwyn's ample and 
opulent fine colour, which at its best seems to be compounded of 
fruit, flesh, flowers, and feather hues, with good solid earth and the 
sky's visiting moods. 

Colour is all-important to poster-work, yet its popularity is not fully 
appreciated by many an artist who works for our hoardings and street 
galleries. Puritans with their sour and fierce gloom, their pent-up 
and annealed virtue, sharp and slashing like steel, tried to cut out of 
our English character that old fondness for colour which softened a 
rude uncertain life during periods when smallpox and plague were 
most rampant, and when costumes were picturesque, and pageants 


lively, and all good folk at May Day Festivals carried posies. Ro- 
mance and colour are elements of Gothic art and of England's 
younger life; and but for them, w^ith the vivid and lusty national 
spirit that they helped to make real and to keep wide-awake, our 
Shakespeare could never have been what he was, for he and the 
drama were opposed by many a Puritan hothead like Gosson, who 
would have talked through his nose at a perpetual funeral if his will 
could have worked such a miracle. Self-righteous talk remains with 
us, but its crape or contempt for colour, its Puritan dreariness 
has gone where the old moons go, seemingly. Colour is greatly 
loved to-day, and in poor homes even more than elsewhere, perhaps. 
During four years of this war, moreover, through many tragic 
nx)nths of bad battle-maps and gnawing doubts, all classes drew 
closer to the refreshment given by gay shop-windows and other public 
displays of colour. A fine sculptor told me that he had noticed this 
fact in his own greatly enhanced relish for notes of good colour in 
many things which hitherto he had accepted more or less as a matter 
of custom ; and I can give an example from quite ordinary hard- 
handed men. 

One afternoon, outside a second-hand printseller's, I was turning over 
some portfolios in which were many oddment prints offered at prices 
from a penny to a shilling. A workman came up and began to 
search through the biggest portfolio. Presently he chose four 
coloured pictures, which looked suspiciously like German chromos 
about thirty or so years old. Though soiled they smacked me in 
the eye like a boxing glove flicked forward with a jab. "You like 
bold colours that hit out," I said to him. "Course. Don't you?" 
he asked. "Need 'em in these days. Pals dead, and two boys at 
the war. My missis won't be up against these picters. Not she. 
Do 'er proud they will — and me too." He thought for a moment, 
and then, with a touch of London's humour, "I dessay these colours 
do brag a bit and put 'emselves on strike, but where's the 'arm ? 
They're a bit of all right these picters." So he paid fivepence each 
for them and went away with some chromo sunshine rolled up into 
a bundle. 

Colour, then, ought not to be omitted from any poster which makes 
its appeal to "the general," as Shakespeare calls public opinion; and 
to-day it is the General, our Commanding Officer, every Premier's 
Prime Minister. How to use colour for posters is another question, 
and it receives a great many answers from Europeans and Americans. 


Climate and national character have varied influence, of course. In 
countries where torrid heat goes together with flashing light and 
gay colour, needs of contrast ought to produce sombre posters with 
sonorous black notes and chords ; while the ebony frames of London's 
aspects can hold with cheering effects colour schemes as virgin and 
as rare as Persian illuminations, with their brilliantly seductive 

Brangwyn is often something of a Persian in the magic with which 
he unites plots of monotint discord into beautiful original colour.* 
None knows better than he, nor so well as he, how to use virgin pig- 
ment as Nature dapples ripening oats and wheat with flames from 
poppies and sweet serene chills from cornflowers. Tender gradations 
and most delicate transitions need not all the ado made by Whistler's 
evasive technique over lowered tone and far-sought mystery ; they 
can be revealed also among most daring contrasts and by sharpening 
many an edge between light and shade and between well-placed 
patches of virgin pigment balanced into glowing colour by the right 
intuitive aptness; as in Brangwyn's "Trade on the Beach," 1894, 
and "Dolce Far Niente," 1893, where Southern women, half-clad in 
orange draperies, lie around a blue-tiled fountain, with a background 
of rich magnolia trees to give a muting concordance. With this 
Oriental zest for colour, but in simplified flattened tints, Brangwyn 
designed his first shipping poster; and there can be no doubt at all 
that his method and his colour effect were as lessons to most of the 
men who do work for our street galleries. 

His poster, too, got rid of that wordiness with which advertisers 
spoil the trade value of their self-praise. It did not promise you a 
visit to heaven in the Orient Pacific Line ; nor did it extol the cheap- 
ness of fares (as if shipping companies were ideal philanthropies) ; nor 
did it praise cooks and food (as if travellers were to be angled for like 
trout, salmon, and pike). To get advertisers to accept a few humble 
words on a poster is a trouble to be overcome either by suave patience 
or by a blunt refusal to do a wrong thing. No true artist should be 
as a gramophone to any advertiser's vainglory — unless he wants to 
lose all self-respect. Let him say outright what he will not do. 
There's more peace in bluntness over matters of right and wrong 

* In stained glass the leaden "canes" will harmonize discordant colours; and both 
gold and black outlines have the same effect in illuminations, and in posters also. So 
these boundaries between unfriendly colours are peacemakers, unlike boundaries 
between rival nations. * 


than in all the pacifists our epoch has known ; and it is usually to- 
wards wrong that advertisers drift. "'Straight' advertising has 
become very rare," a Scottish advertising agent said to me, deploring 
a great decline during the present generation. 

And some other essential hints can be got from the same poster; as, 
for example, that all must be seen at a glance without questions aris- 
ing in the people's minds. A poster miscarries as soon as ordinary 
people say, "What is it all about?" "Is that a little girl or a small 
boy in petticoats?" "Where are the guns on this warship?" All 
questions of this variety show that a poster and its public are at 
loggerheads; and as Edmund Kean was hipped unless "the pit rose 
at him," or as comedians arc unhappy when their "points arn't 
taken," so a poster artist should take his verdicts — not trom his own 
criticisms, nor from those of other artists, but — from the streets to 
whose populace he has chosen to make appeal for the widest approval 
he can win. Let him stand near his own posters ; if he looks at them 
attentively, then makes a remark to a passer-by, a small group of 
critics will soon collect and their candour is informing. I've tried 
this dodge many a time, and doubt if any poster artist — not even 
Brangwyn — has hit the people at all equally in a set of posters. And 
this observation leads on to a suggestion : that in this art, which fails 
if it doesn't attract and hold millions of passers-by, artists, like great 
actors, have more to gain from self-suppression than from self- 
revelation. A poster should be, not a print for a portfolio, but an 
abundant decoration for large and busy streets and other thronged 
public places; and hence an artist should adapt his usual style to 
evident needs and as attractively as he can. In his best posters 
Brangwyn illustrates these matters with an ample hand. 
Then there's the importance of uncrowded workmanship, simple 
direct design, with plain spaces that suggest quietness. Example : if 
you hire the front page of a daily paper and cover it all over with a 
drawing deeply framed by words, you cannot expect to be anything 
more than a faked Autolycus, a bore, not an amusing salesman of 
trade's wares. Your drawing cancels the commercial value of your 
self-praise in words, and your words are so many that they cancel 
your drawing and worry the public's defective memory. On the 
other hand, place midway on your page a small square of ably-worded 
text, leaving all else blank, and your advertisement will magnetize 
readers. Everyone will wish to know what you have to say. Use- 
less to shout when other advertisers bawl or shriek; and from this 



fact and its varied application good effects by the million will be got 
when able artists comply happily with the needs of all advertising, 
whether by headline on "splash pages" or by poster on hoardings. 
But let them keep before their minds yet another thing : that British 
people demand prettiness in women and children ; they don't forgive 
a poster that offends against this need ; and the very high prices paid 
for Birket Foster prove that prettiness belongs to our national 
home life as well as to our poster public. He who paints pretty 
children well enough to make his name in the hearts of English 
mothers runs the risk of becoming very rich while breaking his 
health with far too much work. It is only in fun and farce that 
the poster public likes personal ugliness, but not in girls. Thus the 
Ally Sloper-like print of "Sunny Jim" was as popular as are Punch 
and Judy at the seaside. 

Athletes are liked, so are soldiers in action, but not so much as Jack 
Tars, I think. Sea battles and other marine adventures merit from 
poster artists a great deal more attention than they have won as yet ; 
above all in episodes which have not been shrivelled by journalistic 
dissipation. Next, as for notes of tender feeling. Miss Marie Lloyd 
has told us all, after reigning long over the music-hall public, that 
we are very sentimental as a people ; not a hopeful fact among 
civilians who have to keep watch over an exceedingly scattered 
Empire. There is grit in the tenderness that younger Britain liked ; 
it is real sentiment, not sentimentality, and touched quite often with 
quaintness and humour, as in the ballad about Sally in Our Alley. 
But poster men have to take the public as it is, keeping a sharp look- 
out over those papers, magazines, books, plays, songs, revues, and so 
forth, which reveal most plainly what the people insist upon having 
as hobbies and toys and amusements. Then let them try to do much 
better along the same lines of fun, frolic, wit, humour, ridicule, 
banter, love, courtship, courage, sensation, and what you please from 
life's enigma. 

I am keeping Brangwyn's best work constantly before my mind, 
with that of several other masters, French and British ; and now a 
summing up of these qualities must be given, or offered for con- 
sideration. Whatever a posterist — can this word be used ? — may 
try to do, never must he be neutral, evasive, stricken by half-and- 
half measures. And it is not enough to be positive and direct and 
colourful ; for a good poster, like a good short story (take The Luck 
of Roaring Camp or Only a Subaltern) should be art in a superlative 

2 B 185 

mood — not pathetic, but very pathetic ; not funny, but very funny ; 
not tragical, but very tragical, and so forth. 

A final point. It is widely believed that ordinary persons, and 
above all hard-handed folk, wish to see in pictures and posters things 
far off from their lot and labour; and yet "shop" rules over most 
human interests. Sportsmen love sporting prints and pictures, for 
example, and sailors brood over painted ships, as women do over 
paintings of children. It is artists who open eyes blinded by 
custom, showing ironworkers (to take an example) what furnaces 
and casting are like, and miners what collieries are when half-naked 
men "get" their coal along dim, breezy roads fanned by a circulating 
draught. Note what Robert Browning says in Fra Lippo Lippi: — 

"For, don't you mark.'' we're made so that we love 
First when we see them painted, things we have passed 
Perhaps a hundred times, nor cared to see : 
And so they are better, painted — better to us, 
"V\'hich is the same thing. Art was given for that ; 
God uses us to help each other so. 
Lending our minds out. Have you noticed, now. 
Your cujlion's hanging face '^ A bit oi chalk. 
And, trust me, but you should though ! How much more 
It I drew higher things with the same truth ! 
That were to take the Prior's pulpit-place — 
Interpret God to all of you ! Oh, oh ! 
It makes me mad to see what men shall do, 
And we in our graves ! This world's no blot for us. 
Nor blank : it means intensely, and means good : 
To find its meaning is my meat and drink." 

It follows, surely, that Brangwyn's research into this world, his 
epitome of industrialism, and his varied aspects of sea life, offer 
excellent material for useful and popular posters in a great many 


Posters, then, when considered apart from trade advertising, have as 

distinctly a function in the common weal as any other phase of 
thought and action by which good things fit for their uses are made 
essential to the national welfare. These duties need incessant help 
from first-rate advertising, too, which is to the distribution of made 
wares and raw materials what steam and electricity are to movement 
from machines, such as railway engines ; but advertising, as we have 
seen, is rarely first-rate, often it is very bad, a mere letting off of 
steam by inept self-praise. Unless artists run counter to this evil and 

its national effects, posters are but menials to conceited salesmen, and 
we are face to face with dereliction of public duty on the part of 
those who design posters and of those who commission work for 
our hoardings. 

And we must go farther than this point. Let us not, because we 
deem a thing to be useful for our own brief day, a few current 
hours, act as if we believed that it could never be useful for ever. 
All things in their spirit and purpose are useful for ever if they are 
evoked by that deep sincerity, that passion for thorough effort, 
which all good and fit work makes real in concrete things. A young 
poster man said to me, " Of course, I don't give much time to this 
work — throw it off as quickly as I can, you know. It's for a day 
or two in the rain, and hooligans may scribble dirty words and jokes 
upon it. Trash to sell pills, but it helps to keep fire under my 
stockpot." These excuses for dishonest work belong to an old 
cynical inertia named "After us the Deluge." If the time has not 
come for posters as good as the most able artists at their best can 
design, it never can come ; and most of our streets and stations, 
with a vast number of our fields and sky scenes, will be disgraced 
merely for the purpose of selling work of any sort, however 
scamped and shoddy. 

Again, take the case of war posters, a case that Brangwyn has weighed 
and measured more justly than any other British artist. Grant, if 
you will, that a war poster has an evident function suggested by the 
word War, and that this function is performed well if it helps any 
institution or other agency that is needful to a nation whose life is 
endangered by armed strife. Let this be granted ; but are we to rest 
here and see no more than the fringe of fact .? Are we to forget that 
War for Life or Death is to a nation's whole being, her body social 
in its routine and her mind and heart and soul, what earthquakes are 
to inanimate Nature.? Are we to forget that the highest necessary 
aim of such a war is not alone to win victory, since victory has been 
won millions of times in Man's world by greed over poverty, aggres- 
sion over honour, wrong over right? Indeed, what savage could 
ever have risen above his tigerish lust of blood, and what civilized 
race or nation could ever have been displaced by pitiless barbarian 
hordes (as Britons tamed by Roman discipline were massacred by 
ferocious Angles and Saxons), if crimes from human ferocity had 
been deemed unpardonable by the Divinity that shapes our ends.'' 
Thoughtful sufferers from crime in war do not waste time and energy 


on screaming indictments ; they 
invest them in just and effectual 
counter-strokes, and deHver their 
verdicts when they are in a posi- 
tion to mete out fitting punish- 

It follows, then, that posters are 
base and culpable if they add 
fever to minds already too much 
disturbed by abnormal events and 
anxieties. It is monstrous that 
they should be made to deprave 
high thought and right feeling, 
by restricting and narrowing a 
nation's intelligence, or inflaming 
her judgment, or misdirecting her 
imagination. A great nation should 
— never lose touch with dignity, can- 

dour, and self-respect.* And since the highest aim of armed war can 
never be no more than to achieve victory, as lions and tigers do over 
deer, or as the Vandals did over city after city in North Africa, what 
aim are we to regard as highest in the stage of social feeling and 
progress which England and her daughters have reached? It is a 
dual aim: to prove that our civilization is wiser and better than that 
scientific barbarity which modernized Germans have imposed with a 
difficult and ravaging hand on so many parts of Europe ; better in 
defence and attack, in coolness and forethought, in patience under 
gnawing privations, and in all other qualities by which patriotism 
and courage are tested in the furnace of war — a furnace which 
either anneals or melts and wastes what it acts upon. This one aim 
is essential; but it includes a higher — to improve by our acts what 
we love best and value most — to endow what we love with as much 
immortality as Providence permits on earth among nations that do 
not let decline and decay take hold of their vitals. These are 
the aims that public appeals should try to make real with cool 
impassioned fervour, faith and grip ; and Admiral Beatty, from 

* In the present war, owing to the hysteria of our Noisepaper Press, these first- 
rate qualities have been outraged by a routine of cant, hubbub, and misleading 



a large poster, running counter to current moods and methods, has 
put them before us all in a few words:* 

"England still remains to be taken out of the stupor of self-satisfaction and 
complacency into which her great and flourishing condition had steeped her; 
and until she can be stirred out of this condition, and until religious revival 
shall take place at home, just so long will the war continue. When she can 
look out on the future with humbler eyes and a prayer upon her lips, then 
we can begin to count the days towards the end." 

It is in other phrases the appeal made by Shakespeare : 

"O England! — model of thy inward greatness, 
Like little body with a mighty heart . . . 
What mightst thou do, that honour would thee do, 
Were all thy children kind and natural .'' " 

No man can know whether his neighbours are ready for change and 
truth or not ; but always he can be sure, as Bacon says, that Truth 
has ever been the Daughter of Time. Never does she rise up super- 
naturally ; she has a direct relation to antecedent conditions and to 
present-day needs as well ; and for all these reasons, I assume, Brang- 
wyn in his war posters has kept far away from Press Gangs and 
their orgies of flamboyant emotion and display. It has been his 
pride to seek — now and then in a race against time not to be avoided 
— after such appeals as would grasp public attention while enticing 
it from excited unreason into cool and sincere thought. 
His war posters are done in genuine lithography, are drawn direct 
on slabs of stone and not on transfer paper. In these days genuine 
lithography is a rare thing, and above all on such large stones as 
Brangwyn has employed for several of his best prints. Most of 
them have tints, and they have been admirably published by 
Mr. Praill, of The Avenue Press, whose zeal and success in printing 
these lithographs, both small and the very large, merit public recog- 
nition. There's much variety also in the methods invented by 
Brangwyn, as well as much dramatization in the art with which he 
has felt and realized special needs and varying motifs. Posters drawn 
for France differ from those which are addressed to our own country 
or to the U.S.A., for example. Perhaps he does not insist quite 
enough upon racial types and national character. 
Again, as in coloured woodcuts,^ so in lithograph war posters, Brang- 

* This was written in April, Iqi8. 

T In 1915 the Fine Art Society, London, published in a portfolio six tinted woodcuts 

designed and signed by Brangwyn. They represent episodes of war at the Front and 


wyn has composed for himself a Tommy Atkins, just as Bruce 
Bairnsfather has imagined another; and if we generally prefer the 
British soldier that we see everywhere, let us be glad to accept from 
Brangwyn and Bairnsfather what their patriotism has gathered into 
types. Atkins in a mass of troops Brangwyn understands fully, as in 
his darkling, dramatic poster of British troops occupying Dixmude, 
a print designed to aid a fund for sending tobacco to our protectors 
on all fronts. A good aim, this; for during the last weeks of the 
siege of Metz, forty-seven years ago, tobacco and salt were boons 
that soldiers and civilians pined for most of all. 

More difficult than other problems are those that U-boats have 
enforced upon all nations with such terrific waterquakes of devilry. 
Brangwyn has faced them with a level mind, such as sailors need 
when a cyclone in peals of thunder-wind ravages their ship. Even 
before this war his seafaring intuition compelled him to fear that 
submarines, during the next grapple in armed strife, would become 
more formidable than other sea perils ; and they were also weapons 
very fit and easy to be misemployed. 

I know not by what argument or reasoning he kept his mind well 
balanced. An interpreter of art has to deal as fully as he can with 
results of work done, relating how he feels and sees them ; it is not 
his affair to spy upon an artist's private reflection ; but Brangwyn's 
posters on the U-boat peril, commandingly apt, are what they 
should be — antagonistic to that noisy moral anger by which nations 
at death-grip with stress and strain may be made unfit for cool unceas- 
ing action and effectual resource ; in fact, cool, good sense in action 
unceasing is the only safeguard against crimes in war. And what 
motive-power is behind it ? Hysteria from headlines and splash 
pages .? Either horrified or flaming words .? No. Open pans of 

behind at the Base. Their effects of decorative colour are orchestrated with black, 
white, and a buff tint approaching worn khaki. The black lines are thick and fat, and 
often angular, as angular drawing has greater vigour and character than rounded lines, 
which are apt to look caressed and lax. Black appears also in deep and wide plots, as 
if washed in with a swift brush ; and the buff tint also has about it a painterly wash, 
direct and expressive. Here and there the faces are not comely enough to attract 
British eyes, but few artists of to-day could reveal with equal weight and fervour, by 
means of tinted woodcuts, an epitome of war as notable as this one. In two prints we 
are present with our wounded in the trenches ; and here the style is monumental and 
the emotion epical. Nurses at a Dressing Station enable us to feel how taut and stern 
are the duties which they do with proud tenderness, and which mark their own kind 
faces with suffering. I speak of this work in a footnote because I wish to connect it 
with the war posters. 


boiling water have never driven a steam-engine to a chosen place. 
It is patient and vigilant invention, aided by a whole nation cool 
enough to be thoughtful in united and continuous right action. 
And here is the mood that Brangwyn's posters invite. Only one — 
and this one a rapid sketch, not a meditated war cartoon — is like 
journaHstic appeals. It represents German soldiers in the act of 
shooting Belgian civilians, while their officer looks on with callous 
pleasure and smokes a cigarette. If such a crime as this cannot 
be understood in words, as Crippen's crime was understood from 
words, how can we set just store by Board Schools and current 
citizenship ? So there is no need why posters should vie against the 
Bryce Report and other official and proved facts about our foes' 
abominations. But, this one excepted, Brangwyn's war posters rise 
to the more urgent spiritual needs of our great Empire, who has 
small enslaved allies to rescue and big alHes to aid, and her own 
errors and blunders to retrieve, turning her adversity into a victorious 

The U-boat posters, for example, say in their moods to all country- 
folk and townsfolk, " You don't know what prodigious open sea is 
like, so you don't see in your minds what U-boat crimes are. We 
show you in full their murders on the high seas. How do you 
intend to act ? Any fool can see at a glance that a crime is a crime, 
and any fool can wring his hands over a crime or scream at it with 
horror, like headlines on a 'splash page.' But is it right for you to 
let off steam in this futile way ? Or can you as a people win this 
war by shrieking to the clouds about ' corpse fat,' or by finding any 
other such vent for national energy ? Is it true that too many of you 
strike now and then, while others try to make overmuch profit out 
of this war, and others grouse and growl because food cannot be 
cheap enough to waste, as it was in peace ? What, then, do you 
intend to do as a nation, millions of you acting all day long with 
the same cool and stern will ? Don't you see that you take part in 
U-boat crimes if you either cause delay or sanction delay in the 
building of ships to replace those that U-boats have murdered ? 
Come ! How do you intend to ACT?" 

* One error — very shameful and tragical — was our country's behaviour to Denmark in 
1864; and another was the scrapping of Beaconsfield's Convention with Turkey. 
J. A. Froude said of this Treaty with Turkey : " It is an obligation which we shall 
fulfil as much and as little as we fulfilled a similar obligation to Denmark." So 
Turkey has been our foe in the present War. 


From our hoardings Sir William Robertson has made an appeal in 
which he asks us to value a true perspective of the War, as it would 
aid the Nation to give valuable help to our seamen and soldiers. 
Brangwyn's marine posters have a true war perspective. They epito- 
mize and reveal with intense passion. The earliest was designed 
after the "Falaba's" fate caused seamen to think fiercely and steadily, 
while most civilians repeated headlines. It was published in the 
days of the "Lusitania." No one but a seaman could have drawn 
it, and only a colourist-painter could have put such a stormful rush 
and sweep of line and mass into the realization of its episode, par- 
ticularly on stone with the greasy chalk used in lithographic work. 
Rain falls, and a German submarine looks on while men drown and 
some British sailors in a boat rescue others who are half-drowned. A 
wave curls up lappingly to the periscope's base ; and nothing could 
be more traitorous, not even the submarine's crew, onlooking, than 
this salt water, with its licking rhythm and broken fretfulness. Hun 
and sea appear to be leagued together against helpless men. And 
cold — sea cold that numbs courage and twists bodies all at once with 
spasms of cramp — is made real, except among those rescuers, one of 
whom is as tender as a nurse, v^hile another pauses in his work and, 
with a fine gesture, and muscles taut with passion under control, de- 
fies the submarine. Not all have perished. Right has claimed and 
saved a part of what it needs. Is there too much real terror in that 
drowning man who, before he sinks, hits up his arm as if to grasp 
an unseen support, while his jaw falls as if this last effort has brought 
death to him.? Was it not Ruskin who said that there are times 
when men and nations must be shocked into thought and swift 
effectual action.? Much better a too painful truth than those far too 
sanguine officials who said, more than once, that the submarine 
danger was "well in hand." The over-confident are always in haste 
to pluck laurels from henbane. 

Two of Brangwyn's U-boat cartoons were designed for the U.S.A. 
Navy and for American streets. Are these, do you think, the most 
effectual posters with which our Allied cause has been explained and 
aided? I know none that equals them. They have but one blemish, 
and it is noticed by public opinion, whose verdicts in our street 
galleries cannot be questioned after it is given. Before the bigger 
one of these posters — it measures 60" by 80' — a lady said: "What 
scaring truth ! I don't think I shall sleep to-night. How I . wish 
I could build ships! Why was I born a girl, and not a boy.? It 

seems futile to be a woman during this war. And men should feel 
almost Divine, since they alone can defeat and punish these U-boat 
abominations." A moment's thought, and then she added: "But 
still, after all, a woman can do a little bit here that is useful. She 
can implore Mr. Brangwyn never again to blemish his right and 
very great appeals with a face like that one. It is early prehistoric, 
almost simian. And it is not meant for a German face. It belongs 
to an Allied seaman. Let us have noble faces in the men to whom 
we owe our all. What are we but as pensioners to Allied seamen 
and soldiers.? Who but they give us our food?" 
I am equally disturbed by the same face and by one other. Battle 
passions have no effect on a cranium, and it is in the shapes of skulls 
that we study Man's ascent from his apelike progenitors. Strong 
frontal ridges, with a shallow, fugitive forehead, are marks that come 
from a treetop ancestry. But when a man of imagination is over- 
wrought by his response to the dramatic needs of his tragic battle- 
piece, his peremptory eagerness to make character and passion real is 
apt to carry him a step too far here and there. Other artists do not 
mind; to apprehend is to forgive; but artists are not judges in our 
street galleries, they are the judged. 

All the rest in Brangwyn's posters for the U.S.A. Navy is incan- 
tation. It weighs upon all minds a very deep and fateful warning. 
Even Gericault's noble and heroic shipwreck, "Le Radeau de la 
Meduse," its modelling being overdone and its shadows too black 
and bituminous, looks a sea tragedy from a studio, compared with 
these lithographs, with their bluff salt air drenched with rain, and 
their swirling waters peopled with human tragedies. The smaller one 
(58" by 38"), masterly as a composition, has a colour scheme of blue, 
gray, buff and white, while the larger is printed in black and relieved 
by buff, white, and gray. Brangwyn has done nothing better in his 
many marines than the seaman who stands half erect and, with a 
masterful gesture full of anger under discipline, points to the sinking 
vessel, and cries to the Allied will, "Stop this! Help your country! 
Enlist your hearts in the Navy !" There is also a baby asleep, and 
the sleep is full of sea cold and its numbness. Who is not deeply 
touched by this little face ? There are two posters where the children 
are not felt as this baby's face is drawn ; they neither charm by their 
good looks nor strike awe by their suffering ; and public opinion 
likes children in art to rule as enchanted princes and princesses, how- 
ever humbly they may be dressed. 

2 c ■ 193 

For the rest, Brangwyn's marine and submarine posters, which include 
"The Last Boat from Antwerp" — a fine, free, wise impression — and 
"Landing Men from a Naval Fight," are ample paintings done with 
lithographic chalk and two or three tint blocks. They have an 
energy as youthful as that which keeps fire and fierce persuasion in 
"The Buccaneers," but their varied inspiration is very different, and 
sometimes it is as apt' for its object as is the Marseillaise, which, as an 
incantation that gives men heart to fight on and on for their native 
land, is an ideal model. What the Marseillaise has been to militant 
music among the French, this our national posters may become to 
British patriotism, if our best designers act as true dramatists in their 
study of national tradition and character and opinion. 
"At Neuve Chapelle," with its flaming contrasts of black against 
orange light, gives the ultra-natural in scientific war with a power 
altogether fit and right for our street galleries. Its cool officer, and 
its Tommy who cries out for more ammunition, while behind a 
great gun looms darkly through the glare of bursting shells, have a 
proper feeling for drama and patriot zeal. Very fortunate, too, are 
some touches of home and humour, "In the Belgian Trenches," 
printed sometimes in black and buff on white paper, and sometimes 
in purple and dark blue. These five pals are jolly good fellows, 
grouped with effective naturalness; and one playing an accordion 
reminds me that Brangwyn is always good in his lithographs of 
amateur musicians, as in a capital one named "Music." 
Two posters represent refugees leaving Antwerp; the better one is 
a long print (30" by 15"), and very impressive as a moving, throng 
urged by panic. The white Scheldt behind and Antwerp far off, 
cloud-haunted and under battle smoke, are decorative and true as a 
tragic background. I am left cold by "A Field Hospital in France," 
though I like its colour scheme (buff, red, black, and white), and 
think that its adaptation of Brangwyn's brush drawing and woodcut 
methods adds a new zest to lithography and a new style to poster 
appeals. Everyone is familiar with " Britain's Call to Arms," the 
original stone of which was presented by Sir Charles Wakefield, 
when Lord Mayor of London, to the Victoria and Albert Museum. 
Though inferior to the marine posters, it put art into the degrading 
much ado of our pleading for voluntary recruits — pleadings which 
our foes have collected and ridiculed at exhibitions in support of 
their war charities, taking care to omit the Brangwyn cartoons. So 
I am glad to hear that several sets of Brangwyn's best posters have 

been sent officially to neutral countries as a counter-attack against 
German jests and mockery. • , • r i r 

" British Troops and Ypres Tower," in general aspect, is brimf ul ot 
vast war, and many of its troops march to a song. Yet public 
opinion finds it not quite fit for its big job. " Our boys are finer 
than these— much"; and this verdict means that a grand manner 
a truly heroic style, belongs to war posters as well as to Homer and 
to epic patriotism in verse. If a Dryasdust found proof that the 
Black Prince or Henry V had a harelip and a squint, should we not 
feel outraged ? It is in human nature to glorify those who are 
ready to die for an idea or a cause or a ruling passion, because great 
self-denial is transfiguration; it blends mortal men with eternal 
arace, and frees us all by its magic from a reality that is only ot 
?o-day Several classic battle-painters— Charlet, R6gamey, some- 
times betaille, for example— have got very near to this heroic real, 
with which art should clothe those who are willing to die in battle 
that we may live here at home; and this heroic real is their perennia 
uniform, as magical in khaki as in red, and let it charm away all 
personal ugliness. If not, our great-grandchildren will say, " ihey 
were very brave, these men of the Great War, but they were ugly, 
father " In other words, as an artist can portray in his work only a 
handful of the seven million who have gone forth from the British 
Isles into this war, let him choose none but the finest in face and 
figure and bearing. It was thus that Philippe de Comines (1445- 
icog) described at first-hand our mediaeval archers: " Milice re- 
doutable! la fleur des archiers du monde." What more do we 
need as a continuation of Agincourt and Crecy ? 
« Rebuilding Belgium," a prophetic poster, is a general favourite ; 
and there are six very original episodes expressly lithographed tor 
Sir Arthur Pearson to aid our National Institute tor the Blind. 
One was set aside because it reveals how recruiting was carried on 
among slackers; but social truth is history, so history needs every 
truth that can be winnowed from rumours, lies, exaggerations, and 
self-deceptions, by which great moods in war are alloyed from day 
to day Slackers could be reckoned up by thousands in all big 
towns, and in some country districts also, and Brangwyn has satirized 
the pavement breed with a wit which Daumier and Gavarni would 
have praised as right and wise. Other prints of this good series- 
saying good-bye at a railway station, going on board a transport 
how a brave lad is blinded by an exploding shell, how he is nursed 


in a hospital, and how he and others have become expert as basket- 
makers, each with that mild self-approval that deftness of hand 
begets when it becomes an easy routine freed from constant hazard 
— cannot be studied with too much care. Perhaps they are some- 
what above the heads of many ordinary folk; perhaps they belong 
more to portfolios than to a good many of our streets; but, in any 
case, they honour three inestimable boons to any people that would 
rule well over themselves and over others : three boons that much 
of our propaganda has not often tried to respect — truth in war 
perspective, cool and puissant self-control, and national dignity. 
Viewed only as technical aptness, or as original and useful research, 
they are among the most entertaining work that Brangwyn has done, 
most sympathetic and tender in the hospital ward, where daylight 
enters as a physician with soothing peace, and most varied and robust 
and colourful in "The Transport," and below the great arching roof 
of a crowded railway station. There is tenderness also and good 
colour in two posters designed for a French charity, "L'Orphelinat 
des Armees," though one would prefer to see orphans not as buds 
nipped and deflowered by war, but as shy and rosy heralds of a better 
time bequeathed by their dead parents to our great common Cause. 
One of these prints — in it open lilies of France are united to mourn- 
ing widows who watch over children not their own, pledging them- 
selves to be loyal in the presence of a battlefield made perennial with 
crosses — has a generous emotion, and a light in it that cannot fail 
unless we fail. The other, with its hungry child aided by two 
happier children, while her mother is overcome with pain and woe, 
is somewhat in the vein of Degroux. That child is bitten so keenly 
by hunger that her face and hands plead for help from Him who, in 
the beautiful words of a Psalm, feeds the young ravens that call upon 

Let us note also that Brangwyn, in addition to these posters, and 
some minor ones, like "Dawn," "A Vow of Vengeance," and "Mars 
Appeals to Vulcan," has done for big trading firms a few Rolls of 
Honour, in which typical handworkers appear; and although I shall 
never see why Rolls of Honour should be put up during a vast 
essential war for our country's honour and life, when those who 
cannot fight in the field are the only persons who merit pity, still, 
custom being custom, it is admirable that men of business should 
ask a great artist to make fitting designs. 
And two points more not only invite thought, they set thought astir 



over matters of general value to our future. Three good portfolios 
of these war posters have been issued in half-tone reproductions by 
the Avenue Press, and I wish to suggest now that portfolios of this 
sort, with designs from history of abiding worth to patriotism, made 
by Brangwyn and other big artists, should be issued as a routine by 
our Board of Education and circulated all the year round from school 
to school. Further, the same designs, but in large lithographs and 
colour prints mounted on thin canvas, should be circulated in rolls, 
to be hung up for a week on schoolroom walls ; only, of course, no 
school in the same week should receive a portfolio containing the 
same pictures as those given in the large prints. If this system were 
brought into vogue as a general stimulus to education, many a good 
thing would come into our national life from a constant pleasure 
granted by the State to children. Consider, for instance, how a true 
affection for Shakespeare would have been passed on from school to 
school if E. A. Abbey's most excellent drawings from our Master's 
plays had been turned by this means into a national pleasure for the 
young ; and Lamb's Tale% from Shakespeare might well have accom- 
panied these Abbey drawings.* 

There's no end of invaluable work that draughtsmen and painters 
can do for children, who represent our future as a people. For 
instance, have you seen photographs of work done in Brussels before 
this war by the great Professor Rutot, with help from sculptors? 
He has restored for us in memorable aspects that vague thing named 
Prehistoric Man, enabling us to carry in our minds apt probable 
portraits of the Combe Capelle Man, and the Man of Heidelberg ; 
also the Neanderthal Man, and our Galley Hill Man, and the Negro 
of Grimaldi, and the Man of Furfooz, and the Old Man of Cro- 
magnon, and others. What good luck ! Don't you love to dream 
over your infancy in prehistoric epochs? With coloured lithographs 
Brangwyn could rival Rutot and the Belgian sculptors; and some 
man of science, in a style fit to be read with ease and joy, could 
write notes for our school-children to accept gladly, and in competi- 
tion for half-yearly prizes. 

As for the other point, among many lithographs that F. B. has done 
for portfolios and rooms, there are few that would not be very attrac- 

* In pre-war times Brangwyn began a set of lithographs for educational purposes. 
Several were published, and one aim was to put upon British markets a home-grown 
art better than those good German colour-prints that circulated all over the world. 
But a commonplace old thing happened. "Nothing doing!" Progress creeps, as we 
all know, but in our country before this war progress crept into retrogression. 


tive as large posters for our streets. By way of example, take a fine 
series from those who from time to time straighten their loins and 
wipe their foreheads with the backs of their hands. A series full of 
sweat and truth, it includes men who carry fruit, stalwart harvesters 
who sharpen their scythes, and men who roll barrels as if a barrel 
were a world; skin-scrapers and brickmakers, labourers carrying a 
plank, platelayers with their crowbars and in a shimmer of light, 
which seems to put tremulous vibration into their movements and 
clothes; musicians as happy as bees on a fine day; tapping a furnace, 
steel-making, a Spanish wineshop, and the act of unloading oranges 
from boxes. Here is humanity at grip with stern old facts, and 
every fact an element of primal poetry. " In the sweat of thy brow 
shalt thou eat bread." In one form or other we all suffer bodily 
punishment ; and who does not prefer a lean harvester to the paunch 
carried before him by a sleek alderman ? The velvet of lithography 
is a friend in Brangwyn's hard-handed men to some qualities, elusive 
and most attractive, that etching cannot give so well; and for this 
reason Brangwyn's outcast or beggar comes before us in lithographs 
with a new appeal, illustrating differently the famous lines from La 
Fontaine: — 

" Ouel plaisir a-t-il eu depuis qu'il est au monde .'' 
En est-il un plus pauvre en la machine ronde ? " 

It is often a surprise to me that our philanthropic societies fail to 
put upon our hoardings everywhere great posters like Brangwyn's 
lithographs of beggars in order to advertise many horrors that pro- 
pagating poverty and vice collect into national legacies. Let us as a 
people shame and scourge ourselves into reform. 

Now and then Brangwyn has gone to old history for his litho- 
graphs, as in "Columbus Sighting the New World" and "Hadrian 
Building His Wall " ; and these good subjects also are fit for our 
street galleries if we wish graphic and pictorial art to become con- 
stant elements after this war in discreet education. 



national welfare depends on 
bravery, truth and honour, loyalty 
and hard work, each man at his 
post and fit for his job, let us 
apply once more to citizen needs, 
current and future, the national right feeling of Brangwyn's outlook 
and work. 

Shakespeare says, " There is no English soul more stronger to direct 
you than yourself" A fact inspiring to self-help; but yet it 
lights up only some parts of a sovereign truth as good for us all, as 
are fine dreams made real by finer deeds. From Shakespeare himself 
we learn that our inherited guide and guard as a people, now and for 
ever, is the soul of England that reigns among her best doings. 
And it is also a fact that few, except genuine artists, before this war 
and since 191 4, have tried to grasp in full what the soul of England 
should be to each generation. Brangwyn, Kipling, Henry Newbolt, 
for example, have seen deeper into this cardinal matter than our 
politicians, who chatter on and on as nympholepts of democracy, 
though there is no democracy in naval and military discipline, and 
although democratic disunity took us unprepared into this long- 
threatened war. 

There are four beliefs of immediate necessity to the soul of England, 
and they are beliefs which no political party can oppose without 
evident unreason and wrongdoing : — 

I. That England's wealth is not merely material wealth — the 
number of acres she has tilled and cultivated, her havens filled with 
shipping, her vast factories and her mines, imports and exports. 
Not these alone, nor her Colonies and great daughter States, form 
England's principal wealth and power; for she has, what Disraeli 
loved as "a more precious treasure" — the character of her people; 
and this character has been injured by the ungluing ferments of 
modernity. Freedom has passed from a river into a flood. As a 
people we have become far too emotional, for example. To free 
England from gush and shoddy, in order to renew in all workman- 


ship her proud old temper of breadth, vigour, reserve, candour, and 
endurance, is a beautiful duty resting upon us all as an imperious 


2. That British home life must pass through a long series of 
improvements, fitted to ease expenses and to displace cares by con- 

3. That British vporkmen everywhere need and should have an 
industrial position as fortunate as that w^hich Mr. Millbank, in 
Coningsby, the prototype of Lord Leverhulme, gives w^ith affectionate 
justice and pride to his wage- and wealth-earners. 

4. That we must learn to distinguish between political ferment and 
social improvement. 

Politics may try to muddle all these things ; they deserve the cutting 
verdict which Disraeli passed upon them. But artists have no right- 
ful place in party misadventures : their creed always should be their 
country's welfare ; and if they concentrate their energies on three 
peremptory needs — the restoration of British workmanship, a general 
improvement in British homes, and alert justice not to Labour only, 
but also to every class whose incomes are uncertain and small — they 
cannot fail as national doers and incentives. For these reasons Brang- 
wyn's mind and heart are set on ideas and projects which, if carried 
boldly into thorough action, not by artists one by one, of course, but 
by artists as a body, with full support from their societies. Royal and 
other, would aid all workers who are ready to aid themselves, which is 
the sovereign temper in social recovery and advancement. Not by 
philanthropic effort, with its amateurish fuss and fume, can anything 
be done that is national and inspired by public dignity and self- 
respect. What philanthropy would be needful if nations were in 
sound, robust health .? Charities are nurses only, while duties to the 
State are true physicians. 

Brangwyn is eager to do what his experience fits him to undertake. 
He knows at first-hand the outside welter of human realities, and, 
looking for reformation in re-formation, desires to see contentment 
as a citizen among those who feel most keenly the increasing pres- 
sure of industrialism upon physical stamina and home life. 
Though his work never preaches, never drifts into such commonweal 
sermons as Victorian artists often composed, like Dickens, Charles 
Reade, Ruskin, and others, yet its best achievements are like all 


observed facts and truths alembicated from special stress and strain 
and great drama; they contain material from which historians of 
the future will gather correct views of to-day's conditions and warn- 
ings. Towards four or five phases of our life — as to seafaring, for 
instance, and industrialism — Brangwyn has been a good historian, 
and no part of his wide outlook is fatalistic as Millet was fatalistic. 
He believes in general improvement and Millet did not. Millet 
asks us to have faith in technical progress only and to delete society 
from advancement. "What everyone ought to do," he said in 1854, 
"is to seek progress in his own profession. Everything else is dream 
or calculation." Feeling no desire to improve the lot of peasants, 
Millet relates how he wants "the beings whom he represents to have 
an appearance of being bound to their position so that it should be 
impossible to imagine them having an idea of being anything else." 
And Millet enjoyed melancholy, a deep genuine sadness. " It 
might almost be said that if sadness did not exist. Millet would 
have made it afresh, so singular is the charm which it had for him," 
says Remain Rolland. Bitter poverty often gnawed into his home, 
and he accepted it without surprise and without rebellion. It 
belonged to his lot as the peasant of peasants, always melancholy, 
never depressed. "The joyful side never appears to me," he writes. 
" I have never seen it. The most cheerful things I know are calm 
and silence. . . . Even art is not a diversion : it is a conflict, a 
complication of wheels in which one is crushed, . . . Pain is 
perhaps the thing that gives artists the strongest power of expression'' 
And his own life was certainly inhabited by pain. 
Great art Millet got from his melancholy, his inspired gloom and 
pain, but from such a temperament no social advance could come to 
society ; and better that men in the bulk should cease to be than 
that they should be unable in the bulk to improve. There is no 
abiding place between " Let us improve " and " Let us backslide." 
What we need, then, are able workers who are also men of action, 
high-spirited and enterprising; and if Brangwyn is not an artist of 
action, what is he .? Into many social needs both he and other 
artists can put ever more and more of their ameliorating zeal if they 
are aided by those who scorn intellectual timidity. 

2 D 201 


Let us take the use and abuse of liquor, in order to see what artists 
can do as craftsmen to improve bad industrial conditions friendly to 
intemperance. About eighty years ago many hosts were aggrieved 
if their male guests at dinner did not get inside their cups; and 
there were thirty-two slang expressions to describe a merry fall from 
elevated joy through potvaliance to the table legs. Even Charles 
Dickens in Pickwick Papers grows a great deal of his fun and 
humour from vines and hops. His pages are steeped in good wine 
and in other drinks. Since then a quite wonderful improvement 
has taken place; yet we hear to-day from many quarters a more 
fanatical outcry against an abuse of liquor than was ever heard 
before in free England, whose people always have been nearer to 
FalstafF than to any wish to have total abstinence enforced by Act 
of Parliament. Is it forgotten that by far the noblest boon in life 
is the fact that we have to choose all day long between the use and 
abuse of good things ? Providence allows no man to live free from 
an unceasing choice between enough and too much. 
So it is an act of good sense to be at odds with dragooning 
teetotalism, which is good only for persons and nations unable to 
choose between enough and too much. As Lord Morley says, 
" You pass a law (if you can) putting down drunkenness ; there is a 
neatness in such a method very attractive to fervid and impatient 
natures. Would you not have done better to leave that law un- 
passed, and apply yourselves sedulously instead to the improvement 
of the dwellings of the more drunken class, to the provision of 
amusements that might compete with the alehouse, to the extension 
and elevation of instruction, and so on } You may say that this 
should be done, and yet the other should not be left undone; but, 
as a matter of fact and history, the doing of the one has always 
gone with the neglect of the other, and ascetic lawmaking in the 
interests of virtue has never been accompanied either by lawmaking 
or any other kinds of activity for making virtue easier or more 
attractive. It is the recognition how little punishment can do that 
leaves men free to see how much social prevention can do." 
The main problem is to improve wrong conditions without raising 
public opposition, and without forming habits or customs that abase 
citizen ideals by lowering civil and personal self-respect ; and only a 
social problem here and there is difficult in morals, however costly 


it may be in money put out at delayed interest, 
when it is looked at as a matter of business, to 
be done well and as a duty to England and the 

There is nothing difficult in the moral idea or 
giving seamen good clubs and halls in every pest- 
haunted harbour around our coasts, for example. 
Philanthropy has done a great deal since Nelson's 
time to benefit our seamen's lot ashore, but 
philanthropy carries with it evils of abasement. 
Instead of inviting sailors to be masters of self- 
help, it asks them to run from vice to a pleading 
shelter, as ducklings waddle from rats to a hen's 
wings. Let us give them clubs and halls entirely 
freed from philanthropic much ado, taking care 
to advertise them on all ships, to endow them 
with rules approved by officers and men, and to put into them as 
much varied comfort and attraction as art — that is, good and apt 
work — can produce for men who are essential to our sea power and 
seafaring wealth. 

Think of a seamen's club or hall decorated with marine pictures by 
Brangwyn, some from naval adventures and others from exploits of 
fishing fleets and our great merchant service. The hall could be an 
epitome of our seagoing history, past and present ; and can anyone 
suppose that it would not " draw," that it would not be loved by 
every sailor that could take his ease in an inn of such good luck, or 
that it would not decrease from year to year those foul temptations 
that are leered and ogled upon sailors in every seaport ? Years ago 
the late G. T. Robinson designed for a ship of the White Star Line 
a series of modelled slabs, on which the evolution of ships was 
represented, and he told me that this work, carried out by a good 
sculptor, was visited by sailors whenever they got a chance of seeing 
its many varied interests. This being the effect of sculpture in flat 
relief, consider the impression that marine and naval pictures would 
make from Brangwyn's great-hearted and sumptuous colour and 
vigour ! 

Here, for example, are two great series of sea actions, reproduced in 
colour hj Scribners Magazine in August, 1903, and November, 1907. 
The earlier set in four noble subjects illustrates Hilaire Belloc's 
" The Sea Fight off Ushant." One picture shows grandly how 


" Lord Howe sails from Spithead," under a towering spread of sail, 
and with battleships and cruisers, while supply-boats dally along a 
heaving foreground ; and behind it all is a pageant of English sky, 
islanded in blue among windblown clouds, gray and exquisite in tone 
and protean mass. Spirited and inspiriting colour sings from every 
nook and corner, free and fresh and breezy, yet pent-up with motive 
power, like those bellying sails. To look at this naval episode is to 
become a mariner. Imagine this picture framed by Brangwyn in a 
panelled wall for a billiard-room in a seamen's club. Would it 
perform no great office in the most rational phases of urgent 
national service .? 

"The 'Brunswick' caught Anchors with her Enemy" is another 
subject, and equally fit for such a sailors' billiard-room. Battle-smoke 
adds a gray mystery to rich colour, and our great English ship — 
beautifully drawn, with a fluent brush full of affisction, her sails 
here and there showing how shots have rumpled and pierced their 
setting and their rhythm — rises on a swell of tide above her much- 
damaged foe, while along her side there runs a thrill that denotes 
the eager gathering of boarders. Is there no tingling of naval war 
in your blood .? " How the ' Vengeur ' went down " comes next — a 
grim requiem at sea during a battle. All buoyancy has gone from 
this vessel; she appears to sink as a fact, inevitably, and with a 
grandeur that a good fight has wrapped around her like a torn 
shroud. In the foreground two rescue boats hail a remnant of crew 
on the Vengeur s deck, while the tragedian sea is engaged in her old, 
old work of swallowing up wrecks and the defeated. And now we 
turn to actual fighting at close quarters on an English battleship, to 
watch "The Best Gunners in Europe [or anywhere else, let us be 
thankful] for Sea-fighting." Here is a revel of colour and of 
action; a superlative Brangwyn, a chaos that resolves itself into a 
drama brimming with life and animated and varied form. Would 
that these four pictures were in a seamen's hall, with two or three 
from our present war ! If this idea is not good, if it is not worth 
advocating, let me be " a peppercorn and a brewer's horse," as old 
Falstaff says. 

The other series, illustrating John C. Fitzpatrick's " The Spanish 
Galleon," has also four plates in colour — the immortal fight of the 
little " Revenge," more remarkable than a fight between a voracious 
thrasher shark and a huge tempestuous whale ; " The Great Galleon 
Fair," " Galleons sailing from Cadiz," and " Loading a Galleon." 


Here are splashing harmonies, profuse, glad-hearted, and as typical 
of Brangwyn in passions of colour as they are of departed seafaring, 
which for ever will hold the affection of those who delight in naval 
history. Is there a waterman that he doesn't understand ? All 
sorts and conditions of tars dehght him, from Vikings and over- 
salted sea-wolves, veteran buccaneers, to jollies, bluejackets, skippers, 
fishermen, A.B.'s, bargees, coastguards, gondoliers, and pierhead 
wiseacres and loafers. Have they not all taken berths in Brangwyn's 
varying moods and methods ? And there they will live on and on, 
let us hope, as long as his paintings and his graphic arts find 
answering states of mind and gifts in human nature. 
Surely it is far more than time that our Government should consider 
with a will the best means by which this great master of true 
marine adventure can be employed for the benefit of present and 
future seamen, more especially as three or four questions of long- 
neglected vital interest, such as the spread of certain virulent diseases, 
have come to the forefront since 1914, there to remain with 
peremptory self-assertion. For it may be said, without a shadow 
of a doubt, that the sea and its perils will be to future generations 
of our country even much more important as influences nearly felt 
by all citizens than they were in past ages, because submarines and 


aircraft have invaded history with durable menaces against every 
island not self-dependent, and also against all nations united to their 
destinies by sea-coming and sea-going trade and traffic. Ever more 
and more England's education will have to dwell on ships of all 
sorts and air fleets and submarines for their guards against sudden 
armed war; and thus we cannot begin too soon, as a people, not 
only to meditate over this forecasting matter, but also to take wise 
action to renew among civilians a skipper feeling and a true admiral 
alertness. Schools of every sort, and Board Schools even more than 
others, should be brought close to such marine work as Brangwyn's 
and Napier Hemy's; and if two or three Board Schools in all big 
towns, and in other districts also, were devoted always to the 
education of sailor boys, nothing but great good would arise from a 
training so useful and essential to England's welfare. Add to this 
the patriotism of seamen's clubs and halls, with other kindred 
associations and institutions for other workmen, and national art 
and rational free life would soon be as closely at one as they ought 
always to be in progressive citizenship. 


England was a merrier country, and greater also in all essentials of 
good honest workmanship, when every class took its ease in its inns, 
as the French take their ease in cafes, and in other rallying places 
for their sociable temper. Our modernized public-house, as a rule, 
makes men into thirst's prisoners at the bar, it is as remote from true 
citizenship as it is close to bad manners, and this fact has received 
some official attention since 19 14, with help from several architects. 
Let us try to evolve bars into homelike inns where cheery talk will 
be of more account than thirst, and where overworked wives may 
find with their men a chattering leisure apart from their dull, drab 
cares. Surely here is one thing to be desired, for it is a thing 
as English as the English language. Do you remember how 
Dr. Johnson, an epitome of England, used to thank his lucky stars 
that his native land triumphed over the French in her inns and 
taverns? "There is no private house," said he, "in which people can 
enjoy themselves so well as at a capital tavern. . . . The master of 
the house is anxious to entertain his guests — the guests are anxious 
to be agreeable to him; and no man, but a very impudent dog in- 
deed, can as freely command what is in another man's house, as if it 

were his own. Whereas, at a tavern, there is a general freedom 
from anxiety. You are sure you are welcome; and the more noise 
you make, the more trouble you give, the more good things you 
call for, the welcomer you are. . . . No, sir, there is nothing which 
has been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced 
as by a good tavern or inn. ... As soon as I enter the door of a 
tavern, I experience an oblivion of care, and a freedom from solici- 
tude." So he spoke of a tavern chair as "the throne of human 
felicity." Let this minor English throne, with an ordered good 
fellowship, belong once more to the English people. Rules are easy 
to make, and not hard to protect. 

And artists of all sorts can aid in many ways to bring about this 
revival. Some can work for it, while others can contribute books, 
pictures, etchings, and so forth, which they cannot sell or do not 
need, sending such gifts to a municipal warehouse to be shared 
among inns of their neighbourhood. Thousands of good things, 
year after year, litter studios and studies. Why not give them to 
homes of friendly talk called inns .? And I believe, too, that Labour 
should have ceremonial clubs and halls free to all comers, where 
class could meet class apart from ballot-box rivalries, with those 
narrowing and impoverishing habits of mind that men hackney when 
they read always the same pohtical views and jeer at all others. To 
listen to views unlike your own is the beginning of social fairplay, 
of honour in politics; for what just value can you set by your own 
views if you have never studied rival opinions .? And how can 
you be sure that your vote is not a national peril, as were those that 
sanctioned in pre-war days a most culpable unreadiness for defence, 
unless you review with the utmost frankness all political beliefs, con- 
victions, fads, and illusions.? 

So I think of a ceremonial Labour club as a great and vast hall where 
opinions of a thousand sorts would meet on given days in candid and 
friendly debate ; a hall noble as architecture, noble also as an exhibi- 
tion of British furniture and mural painting, with a central stage or 
platform and a speaker's chair, and around this platform a fine cafe. 
There should be two galleries from which men and women would enter 
reading-rooms, billiard-rooms, and a good library, all fine as architec- 
ture and in mural decoration. If every big town had a hall with this 
true citizen appeal. Labour could not fail to lose a great deal of its 
breeding discontent, inherited from such wrongs as Disraeli portrays 
in Sybil. It would be delighted, encouraged and uplifted ; and 



during many years there would be abundant scope for right patron- 
age of excellent craftsmanship. Art and Labour could be made into 
associates and chums. 

In this dream I think always of Brangwyn, not only because no 
decorative painter of to-day has risen to his level as a splendid colourist 
and what the French call a "visionnaire prodigieux," but also because 
he alone is an ample and a robust poet among industrial and commer- 
cial affairs, both at home and abroad, and also in many old historic 
aspects. It is a regret to me that the mural paintings which he 
has done for the Skinners' Hall, and Lloyd's Registry, and Louis 
MuUgardt's Court of the Ages at the Panama-Pacific Exhibition, are 
not to be found in British Labour Clubs. Neither Lloyd's Registry 
nor the Skinners' Hall is free enough to all the world to be a public 
home for great mural painting, which needs for the exercise of its 
public influence what good books and plays need always — the widest 
publicity that can be granted. The noble work done for St. Aidan's 
Church at Leeds is different ; it belongs to the whole nation ; every- 
one can see it who has a wish to see it ; and as for the Brangwyns at 
Christ's Hospital — The Stoning of Stephen, for instance. The Arrival 
of St. Paul at Rome, St. Paul reaches shore after Shipwreck, St. Wil- 
frid teaching the Southern Saxons how to fish, St. Ambrose train- 
ing his choir at Milan, The Conversion of St. Augustine at Milan, 
St. Augustine at Ebbsfleet, and The Scourging of St. Alban — are they 
not finely placed in a school that ranks high among the best that 
Europe knows.? 

A book on all these mural paintings is to be published at a fitting 
time by another interpreter of Brangwyn's genius — and published 
with great success, I hope. But when they are studied in sketches 
and cartoons, some in black chalk, others in glowing pastels or in 
swift, blobby, most expressive oil studies, they have also a rare charm 
like Charles Dickens's confidential letters to friends about his next 
book or the book upon which he is engaged. Or we may affirm, 
without any great extravagance, that Brangwyn's preparatory sketches 
and cartoons are the scaffolding of his vast mural pictures. Some 
decorative painters put so much energy into their cartoons that they 
have not enough reserved to carry them, with a generous, life-giving 
zest and rhythm, through their second and major campaign, the 
transformation of cartoons into paintings that breathe and generate 
growth until they are as complete as they need be. In Brangwyn's 
case, without exception, a cartoon is a scaffolding only, and thus 




I I liBJiB 


inferior by far to its transmutation^into 
its destined place upon a wall as a 
symphony of mingled life andj action 
and colour in a large decorative scheme 
allied with an architectural setting. 
For a painter-colourist, as soon as he is 
at ease on ample spreads of surface and 
with big brushes, finds his most desirable 
and fitting tools among those that bring 
his work to completion ; just as a great 
composer, who writes for orchestras and 
opera singing and staging, wins more 
freedom and more inspiration from his 
accustomed work than from solos for 
single instruments and private rooms or 
small concert halls. Colourist-painters 
of the first rank are at least as uncommon as great masters of the 
opera ; and if I venture to call Brangwyn our Wagner in the realms 
of sumptuous colour and dramatic decoration, I believe that this 
new analogy will be found useful. They are many who fail to pass 
through his natural mannerisms into his frequent grandeur as a 
master of decoration. 

It is the connection of one part with another, and the bearing of 
external matters, such as colour, not only upon each and upon all, but 
also upon an artist's mood, inspiration and purpose, that most on- 
lookers fail to see in a cartoon or a mural painting. From mere 
simplicity and want of appreciation, they do not look at things as 
parts of a whole, nor at outward aspects as visible signs and tokens of 
inward motion and passion, and often they will sacrifice the most 
vital and precious portions of an artist's own magic merely to note 
what everyone else can see at a casual glance. Thus, for example, 
the sovereign quality of Brangwyn's cartoons and mural paintings, 
its most welcome grace from a public and national standpoint, has not 
been studied by any writer whom I have read, nor even so much as 
recorded bluntly as a fact. Yet this grace gives an atmosphere to 
every mural study and painting that Brangwyn has produced. It is 
partly an aloofness from gloom, a good health that scorns melancholy, 
morbid thought and drooping, though it rarely draws near to Milton's 
conception of Euphrosyne, goddess of Mirth, who, with jest and 
youthful jollity, quips and cranks, and wanton wiles, nods and becks, 

2 E 20Q 

and wreathed smiles, gets rid of wrinkled care and sets Laughter to 
hold both his sides. Mere aloofness from gloom would not be rare 
enough to endow virile work with an original atmosphere, this quality 
being evident among decorative painters of the Italian decadence, 
as in those Rossos and Primatices at Fontainebleau, which appealed 
so potently as opposites to sorrowful Millet, who enjoyed not merely 
their pulse of life, their glad and rough good humour, but also their 
inbred and natural affectation. " One could stay for hours before 
these kind giants," said Millet, "noting recollections in their art of 
the Lancelots and the Amadises, all as childish as a fairy-tale, yet as 
real as the simplicity of bygone days." 

If Brangwyn went no farther than these Italians his deleting of gloom 
from decorative painting would be in many respects a revival, but he 
does go farther, like those of us who wish to disenshroud old inevit- 
able death from craped pomp and threatening music, in order to 
array him in colours and hopes humbly promiseful of another and 
better life beyond the few years of this one. Even in such a tragedy 
as the stoning of Stephen we are present — not at a marvellous event 
which seems for ever contemporary with mankind, as in Brangwyn's 
"The Crucifixion," but — at an episode from religious persecution 
away off from ourselves, inevitable since it happened, and never likely 
to be repeated ; hence we should renew the crime of it if we brought 
it near to ourselves in a mural painting inflamed with realistic frenzy 
and terror. It is as a dream, not as a nightmare, that Brangwyn calls 
up into pictorial presence the death of Stephen, and a dream that has 
a sort of aureola, a questioning contentment which is to it as a nimbus 
or halo. The spirit of the whole conception and its realisation seems 
to say : "If no such events as this one had happened, are we sure that 
the Gospels would have passed from land to land and from age to age 
as permanent lights to be hidden often by human follies? Are we 
sure that martyrdom with its crown of thorns is not the only enthroned 
glory that enables mortals to feel the immortality of the loftiest faiths ? 
In any case, though life is a mystery inextricable, yet a great deal of 
its hidden meaning grows into the minds of those who, understanding 
the eternal contrast between Christmas and the Crucifixion, are glad 
to have big things to do in the midst of grave difficulties." 
The same temper comes to us also from Brangwyn's decoration of 
" The Scourging of St. Alban," history at a distance from us and 
veiled not by the ages only, but also by that just hope without 
which all capacity to improve withers. St. Wilfrid in the act of 


teaching the Southern Saxons how to catch fish with a net, is a 
glad-hearted episode; and when we turn to St. Augustine, an austere 
and ascetic white figure, seated amid an arbour of figs, we see how 
he wrestles with mute brave woe against his inner self, while 
children sing to him ; and across the foreground, where some other 
children stand as onlookers, open and tall white lilies are as full of 
joy as they are of beauty. 

As for the ten tempera paintings done for Lloyd's Registry, and 
shown first of all in a special room at the Ghent Exhibition, they 
were designed and carried out for a purpose so charged with 
difficulties that preparatory work needed unusual will-power. 
Imagine a very large room panelled with oak. It has a barrel roof 
and a top window. The roof, like a phase of decoration loved by 
our Henry III, true patron of the English Home, is bright with 
stars dappled on a lozenge moulding that is painted a deep and rich 
blue. At a height of some eight feet from the floor there are places 
for nine decorative paintings, all of the same size, about nine feet 
by five feet, and they draw our eyes towards a culminating point — 
a vast lunette, more than eighteen feet by ten feet. Brangwyn 
decided that he would fill his nine panels with workmen of various 
sorts, all in the midst of rich and happy colours, as when men 
gather grapes and pumpkins, or display rich carpets from the East ; 
and that he would place behind them as much majestic plenty as he 
could suggest as a part of our commerce. His studies for all these 
things are most varied and apt, though we cannot say of them they 
are the most perfect expression of his emotion, his real artistic media. 
As regards the huge lunette, Brangwyn used it as a space upon 
which he could sum up with power the genius of mechanical 
industry, choosing for his motif the final stage in the making of 
a big ship's boiler. A blast furnace near at hand, a foreman 
explaining a plan to his assistants, other men in strong light ham- 
mering on iron bars, and a blue sky as a background also to the 
tall chimneys that mark what Victorians called a hive of in- 
dustry. Some men on the boiler add height to the great central 
mass of the composition, and prevent it from being too horizontal 
in the arrangement of its planes. 

For Louis Mullgardt's Court of Abundance, or Court of the Ages, 
at the Chicago Exhibition, with its most varied displays of colour 
in architecture, Brangwyn painted eight decorations, measuring not 
less than twenty-five by twelve feet each. His motifs are the four 

21 I 

elements — Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, each of which is symbolized 
by two paintings, and symbolized with a freshness and simplicity 
that have their welcome source in Nature herself and not in 
emblematic figures from a routine of official decoration. " Primitive 
Fire " is rather disenchanted by the fact that it has in it several 
models who have appeared in several other Brangwyns, while 
"Industrial Fire" is just what it should be — a revelation. But my 
favourite is "Air ii: The Windmill," with nude children at its base 
and windblown figures, some nude, chivied by a strong breeze along 
the foreground. 

These Brangwyn decorations are within the enjoyment of all persons 
who are natural enough to feel attractions that good colour radiates. 
To place and keep these attractions before an ever increasing number 
of men and women, busy persons who toil in our drab towns and 
bleak climate, is a patriotic need; so let us hope that no more 
Brangwyn decorations will go abroad or be shut up here at home 
from the common crowd. 

I write as an Englishman, believing that England's inevitable cause, 
now and ever, must be her honour and her proud self-respect ; and 
that her pole-star, beaconing and beckoning, must ever be her own 
cresset soul. For even if England were to fall through the delays and 
follies of momentary politicians, her soul, with its thousand years of 
inspiring prestige, would take her victor captive. Let us think of 
England as we think of Shakespeare. Whole editions of her works 
may come and go, just as her American colonists left her ; yet she 
will remain profuse and imperishable. 



[n 1 910 I published a chapter 
Ion these valuable off-shoots from 
[Brangwyn's versatility, choosing 
[here and there some examples 
'from his early bread-and-butter 
work, w^ith some specimens of earnest and genuine "parerga," as the 
Greeks named the byplay efforts of their hobby hours. To-day 
I wish to recall some other early work, and to speak also of those 
books into which, since 19 10, Brangwyn has put much time, thought 
and invention. 

During these eight years our publishers have been pretty keen and 
wide-awake. They have issued with the utmost care a good many 
beautiful books, some of them illustrated by men of original mark, 
like Rackham, who is a whole court of fairies, and much else besides, 
in the realms of precious whimsies ; and these fine books, often too 
good for nurseries and schoolrooms, though inspired usually tor 
Christmas, have kept our country in the first rank of the world's 
publishing seasons. We have an aristocracy in book illustration and 
decoration. But have we also a commonwealth ? Brangwyn com- 
plains, not without reason, that the average level of workmanship is not 
only too low for a great nation, but also that it is often pinched, 
starved, poor and mean, and thus inferior to that which ruled in 
England between the time of Hearne, Girtin, Turner, Stothard, Nash, 
Wilkie, Rowlandson, Bunbury, Gillray, and those other brave days 
which connect Cotman and Cox and Gilbert (who in several ways 
was a forerunner of Brangwyn) with Leech, Doyle, Tenniel, Calde- 
cott, Charles Keene, David Roberts, Prout, Small, Harding, Pinwell, 
Houghton, Fred Walker, Millais, Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Sandys, 
Hughes, Ford Madox Brown, and many others. 

In the days when steel engravings and woodcuts and lithographs were 
as varied as they were often valuable, book production, as a rule, had 
about it a less flurried and industrial air; the evil now known as 
intensive culture appeared only from time to time, mercifully free 
from mechanical half-tone blocks, and also from that pestilential 
nuisance the camera fiend, who seems often to be neither brute nor 
human, but a ghoul. Fine books and periodicals have a fight uphill. 


During five-and-twenty years, indeed, and always more and more, 
bookstalls and bookshops have been littered with fleeting productions, 
in which good things have often been overwhelmed by trash ; and it 
has become increasingly a risk to pay what is called a living wage for 
good illustrations by men rising into fame. American publishers 
have been more fortunate. Much more often than our own, they 
have been able to pay well and at once for capital work, thanks partly 
to an eager public more than twice as large as our own, but partly 
also to the much higher revenue that American publishers gather 
from advertisers. 

On three occasions — April 1904, October 1905, and October 1906 — 
Brangwyn has designed a cover for Scribner s Magazine, and as far 
back as 1893 he did a windy series of marine drawings for the same 
excellent periodical. It appeared in July of that year to illustrate a 
good article by W. Clark Russell on "The Life of the Merchant 
Sailor." There are twelve drawings, and only two are reproduced in 
half-tone. One of these, from a swift pencil sketch, shows in per- 
spective a forecastle, with two sailors in their rough bunks, another 
taking off his sea-boots before he turns in, while a tall negro, standing 
erect, lights his pipe and makes the too human air friendly with 
twist tobacco. The other half-tone is a pencil sketch touched here 
and there with a wash. It represents a burial at sea, and is full 
of weight, character, and observation. The remaining illustrations 
are excellent woodcuts. 

"Two Men at the Wheel," one a negro, is a capital piece of work, 
unforced in its keen realism, and with just the right bluff vigour for 
a dirty day. "Dinner in the forecastle," with light pouring down 
through a small vent-hole on six merchant sailors, whose uniform has 
a serviceable negligence as the only sign of discipline in dress, is 
equally sincere and apt. Its diffused light is well managed, and a 
story could be written about each sailor, so clearly are these six men 
made known by their faces and postures. Other woodcuts reveal 
how a deck is washed at dawn, how a topsail is stowed by five salts, 
how the lookout is kept in thick weather, how rescuers get into the 
quarter boat after a man has fallen overboard, how jibs are stowed 
when a ship puts her nose into a swelling sea, and also how the lead 
is heaved. These drawings are signed 1893, the year in which 
Brangwyn exhibited "Blake at Santa Cruz" (Glasgow Institute), 
"Shade" (Society of Scottish Artists), the "Adoration of the Magi" 
(New Gallery), "Dolce Far Niente" (Institute of Oil Painters), "The 


Buccaneers"(Grafton Gallery),and two pictures at the Royal Academy, 
"Turkish Fishermen's Huts" and "A Slave Market," now at South- 
port in the public gallery. 

Nine years later, in September, 1902, Brangwyn returned again to the 
sea for Scribners Maga-zine, and made five first-rate drawings to 
illustrate a stirring yarn by James B. Connolly, A Fisherman of 
Costla. These are wash-drawings full of realness and power; and 
the half-tone blocks are closer and firmer and weightier than those 
that appear in an English magazine whose circulation is equally 
large. No drawing has its texture or its body at all unloosened by 
the meshed grain ; every touch tells as in an original design ; and even 
spray, flicked cleverly with a brush, keeps its own right place and 
value in one reproduction, where two very typical fishermen and a 
boy pole their boat off to the end of a quay. 

Let us compare these American illustrations, some process blocks and 
some real woodcuts, with the good seafaring work that Brangwyn 
has done for English books. In 1891, for example, he illustrated 
W. Clark Russell's Admiral Collingwood — a theme sufficiently 
national and permanent to forbid all trite and tame compromise 
among those who had to do it justice. Our London publisher chose 
the right artist, but he did not choose the right means of reproduc- 
tion, preferring weak process blocks to full-bodied woodcuts or rich 
photogravures. As Collingwood is the most lovable true hero in 
our naval history, a marine Sir Galahad always on duty at sea, who 
is to explain this prosy, commonplace thrift and fear ? We cannot 
suppose that the British people, twenty-seven years ago, were land- 
lubbers who had no wish to pass from seaside trips to companionship 
with Collingwood, whose biography had received hitherto not enough 
research and colour. 
Clark Russell and Brangwyn did 
their work well, producing a book 
for old boys of seventy and more, 
and old men of seventeen and 
younger. In one drawing, well 
composed, Brangwyn shows how 
Collingwood in the " Excellent," 
helped Nelson off St. Vincent. 
Sails are blurred by battle smoke, 
and in the foreground some men 
find refuge on a broken mast 


afloat. Collingwood and his first lieutenant, Clavell, asleep on 
a gun- breech, worn out after blockading, is the subject of 
another good impression, which contains also a capital group 
of five tars around the next gun. Not even a penny-wise block 
can spoil this revival of the younger days at sea, when cannon 
were but popguns compared with our battleships' most recent 
weapons. It is also refreshing to see how the " Royal Sovereign " 
went into action at Trafalgar, "glorious old Collingwood a quarter of 
a mile ahead of his second astern," and opening the battle with his 
undying attack on the magnificent black " Santa Anna." As soon as 
he reached this great ship, he cut the tacks and sheets and halliards of 
his own studding-sails, letting them fall into the water; and when 
his mainyard caught his opponent by the missen-vangs, he let off into 
her stern a double-shotted broadside, and soon got rid of one foe 
among the thirty-three that our fleet attacked. Perhaps Brangwyn's 
drawing has too much sea in the foreground and not enough space 
above the ships' decks ; but in other matters, at any rate, it is a top- 
sawyer, though weakly reproduced. 

Collingwood had but little chance of enjoying home life with his 
dear family at Morpeth, but once during a holiday there a brother 
Admiral caught him in the act of digging a garden trench, with old 
Scott, his gardener. Here is the subject of another drawing, which 
shows Brangwyn aside from his usual moods. The episode is made 
real with sympathy and high spirits. Old Scott is an excellent 
veteran, quite clever enough to feel wisely superannuated while his 
master does most of the work, in order to be sure that he is at last 
on land and at home. We get a back view of Collingwood, and 
note how his broad shoulders have been rounded by a habit of stoop- 
ing on board ship in low cabins and between decks. 
More interesting still, as work apart from Brangwyn's usual appeals, 
is a piece of real fireside genre, illustrating a passage from a letter 
written by Collingwood in 1801 to Mrs. Mowbray: "How surprised 
you would have been to have popped in at the Fountain Inn 
[Plymouth] and seen Lord Nelson, my wife and myself sitting by 
the fireside cosing, and little Sarah teaching Phillis, her dog, to 
dance." Just a few days before — on June 13, 1801 — Nelson had 
parted from his wife for ever, so his presence at Collingwood's happi- 
ness must have been a painful experience to him. The drawing is 
clearly seen, well composed, and sympathetic. Nelson is seated with 
his back to us, while Collingwood talks quietly, his face wearing 



that half-anxious look that settled upon sailors during the long and 
stern blockade. 

And now we pass on to The Wreck of the Golden Fleece, written 
by the adept Robert Leighton and published in 1894. It is the 
story of a North Sea fisher-boy, and Brangwyn made for it eight 
sketches, which were not so well reproduced as they ought to have 
been. Here is another entertaining bit of genre, showing how Peter 
Durrant spelt out a handbill in a printer's pleasant old shop ; and 
there's a good fight on board a plague-ship. It sets me thinking 
of Alan Breck's fight in the Round House, on board the brig 
"Covenant," in Stevenson's Kidnapped, which did not reach lads as 
easily as Robert Leighton's tales. 

Two years later, in 1896, Tales of Our Coast appeared, with a 
dozen illustrations by Brangwyn. They were written by Q., W. Clark 
Russell, Harold Frederic, S. R. Crockett, and Gilbert Parker. Once 
more the blocks are not good enough to be fair to a big artist, whose 
fame on the Continent was increasing fast, and who was then at 
work on his young masterful picture "The Scoffers." What hope 
can there be for genius in book decoration when second-rate blocks 
are offered as a sop to penurious enterprise? Brangwyn did well to 
turn from such thankless toil to the freer scope that he found in 
design applied to household things, like carpets and furniture and 
stained glass. 

Of his drawings for Tales of Our Coast, four or five should be 
mentioned. In Russell's yarn, "That There Mason," there are two: 
"■Tou killed him!" and "Old Jim Mason's the worst-tempered Man 
on our Coast." He looks it too, a human cauldron always ready to 
boil over, and Brangwyn shows in Mason that spinal weakness of 
character which goes frequently with ungoverned temper, as with 
other uncontrolled emotion. Q.'s thrilling story, "The Roll Call of 
the Reef," has a tragedy on a seashore, and I should like to come 
upon the original drawing. Crockett writes about "Smugglers of 
the Clone," and I find in a Brangwyn sketch — "Black Taggart was 
in with his Lugger" — an episode from shipping affairs that foretells 
a very good thing in Brangwyn's etched work, unloading wine at 
Venice by night. But the main point of all is the varied observa- 
tion. Several drawings do not seem to come from Brangwyn, so 
closely do they belong to the tales. "Saw his head spiked over 
South Gate," in Harold Frederic's "The Path of Murtogh," is one 
example. Thackeray says that no one can have any guess what 
2 F 217 

ideas are in his mind until he begins to write ; and certainly Brang- 
wyn does not know how much he has gathered from his travels and 
his reading until he sits down to illustrate a book. What is it that 
Shakespeare tells us about Art and Nature ? — 

" — Nature is made better by no mean, 
But nature makes that mean : so, over that art 
Which you say adds to nature, is an art 
That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry 
A gentler scion to the wildest stock ; 
And make conceive a bark of baser kind 
By bud of nobler race : this is an art 
Which does mend nature, — change it rather ; but 
The art itself is nature. . . ."* 

So it is always, though fashions in all things come and go. 
In 1 899, Brangwyn went again to the sea and illustrated A Spliced 
Tarn for George Cupples, doing five drawings and a title-page. 
Across the head of this title-page he put in decorative outline some 
warships of Edward the Third's reign, or thereabouts ; and his 
drawings are brisk and welcome, though three add nothing fresh to 
his graphic variety. They repeat a familiar good seamanship in art, 
like captains who meet on their voyages with no event which is un- 
expected. We see how H.M.S. "Brutus" fought Le Caton, and 
also how an old frigate tumbles home in the fangs of bad weather; 
while the third sketch carries the canvas of a fine merchantman who 
gathers knots from a stiff wind, while clouds pile themselves into 
threats. "In the Hooghly," boarded by native traders, is a new vein 
in Brangwyn illustrations; and a busy impression called "The Panama 
steamer came in," is a new tributary also into Brangwyn's main 
stream. But the reproductions are only better than nothing. From 
what they do with a fudging thrift, by which a few pence are saved 
on each block, one has to guess what a true artist did with appre- 
hension of two sorts, conceiving and expressing right things, while 
he anticipated ill-treatment from block-makers and printers. What a 
pity it is that his earlier book work was never reproduced in England 
with such royal care as the brothers Dalziel in their woodcuts gave 
to Millais, Leighton, Pinwell, Ford Madox Brown, and many others ! 


We pass on to four or five series of later and riper designs. In 1 9 1 o 
I spoke of Sir Walter Raleigh's "The Last Fight of the 'Revenge,'" 

* Winter's Tale, Act IV, Sc. 3 ; PolJxenes to Perdita. 

which Brangwyn illustrated in 1908, choosing six subjects for colour- 
prints and making many headpieces and tailpieces. The finest colour- 
print is taken from an overmantel at Lloyd's, and represents, with 
majesty and splendid pomp, how Queen Elizabeth went aboard the 
towering Golden Hind. Brangwyn has done nothing more stately 
in historical seamanship, and I am glad to know that lads of the 
U.S.A. see this noble decoration in Scribner's The Boys Hakhiyt* 
In 191 1 he enriched and completed a very charming edition of 
Southey's Life of Ne/sofi, for which John Masefield wrote an excel- 
lent preface. Several colour-plates, all from good blocks and well- 
printed, we have seen already, in Scribners Magazhie, August, 1903 
(p. 204) ; but the others are less familiar to students of Brangwyn's 
versatility. "Building a Frigate," for example, is most romantically 
conceived, and as mellow in colour and tone as one of those rich 
baritone singers who rise all at once into a climax of pure tenor. An 
officer and his friends, women and men gaily dressed, visit the frigate, 
and their presence as plots of colour is put in with just the right 
allusive touches from a full brush. "An Italian Water Festival" is 
amusing as an extemporised pageant, and also because of its contrast 
with "After Trafalgar," where imaginative fervour gathers with 
coming dusk and storm around crippled battleships, one of which has 
a fatefulness accordant with Nelson's death in victory. 
Brangwyn's headpieces and tailpieces, now so many and so various, 
cannot be interpreted one by one. Their method has a frequent 
interest of its own, and strength of its own, with a charm not felt by 
everybody. If you do not like it, you must leave it alone, but not, 
I hope, before you have tried to put yourself into friendliness with 
its decorative breadth, its robust and subtle variety. These qualities 
go hand in hand with humour, and wit, and romance, enlisting as 
aids a great many motifs that other designers are overapt to pass by. 
Note how varied and ornamental is the use he makes of ships and ot 
bridges, for example ; and as for the designs composed for endpapers, 
they are always original and apposite. On one, drawn with a brush 
almost as fresh and swift as an incoming tide, a fleet of old timber 
battleships goes sailing into action, and so full of promise that it 
hurries us into the pages that it recommends. As for Brangwyn's 
initial letters, are they not often rapid sketches rather than designs 
within that formal art which good printing has delivered down to 
us from Caxton's day ? 

* See also Frank Brangwyn and His Work. Kegan Paul and Co. 


In 19 1 3 Messrs. Sampson Low and Co. prepared with thought and 
pride a capital edition of Kinglake's Eothen, with a prefatory note by 
S. L. Bensusan and designs by Frank. Brangwyn. This book, with 
its traces of travel brought home from the East, has a chatty, refresh- 
ing naturalness that keeps young and true, despite the gradual alloy 
of Western manners and methods that the East receives, as a copyist 
sometimes, and sometimes under compulsion. Brangwyn, like King- 
lake, was born with gifts swift to apprehend with sympathy all that 
is venerable and highbred and glowing among Eastern customs, 
manners, and peoples, and thus the wise temper of his Oriental work 
should be of use to our British patriotism, which, as a rule, has 
dangers all its own. If we compare our patriotism with that of the 
French, for example, we see at once that French patriotism has in it 
the stuff of a burnt sacrifice, a passion so intimately filial that France 
lives in French minds as mothers live in the hearts of little children, 
while our own patriotism, as a rule, is a multiple and a vagrant 
achievement wherein pride of race, inherited from age to age with a 
far-scattered Empire, is the main factor. So we are apt to forget as 
a nation that Empires invariably have to hold at bay two encroaching 
foes ; either Imperial pride may become excessive enough, as in 
ancient Rome, to disintegrate most national feelings, or national 
feelings may become too subdivided and too zealot-ridden for Imperial 
unity to be possible, as in present-day Russia. India also has imported 
epidemical ideas from Western socialism and democracy, and unless 
British minds undergo a thorough orientation, grave perils will come 
upon us unawares and find us unprepared. To publish temperate and 
sympathetic books on the East, with illustrations by men who under- 
stand the East, is thus very useful and necessary. 
Macaulay complained that books on India attracted little notice, and 
Disraeli's thorough understanding of the East was never appreciated 
at its worth by our insular aloofness and over-confidence. One 
reason is apposite here, and it happens to be a reason that statesmen 
have passed over in silence. Most minds learn more from drawings 
and pictures than from printed words, and our pictorial arts, unlike 
the French, have been scrappy and patchy, and also infrequent as 
explorers of Easternism. Off and on we have had a true and a fine 
Orientalist, like J. F. Lewis (1805—76), Holman Hunt, and Brangwyn; 
but across the Channel, for about a century, there has been a flourishing 
school of Orientalists, whose abundant work has done a great deal 
to unite the French people to the daily presence of Eastern affairs. 


It was this education in the aspects of Eastern Hfe and character 
that enabled Frenchmen to hke at once the splendid and intrepid 
orientation through which Brangwyn's art passed after visits to the 
Near East ; while at home his departure from gray sea-pieces and 
his arrival at real Eastern colour and life were treated, far more often 
than not, as outrages on insular domesticity and gentleness — on what 
may be called the Darby and Joan of aesthetic orthodoxy. His 
Easternism was regarded as a dissenter, a new courage and candour, 
to be feared and disliked, though the British Empire in Asia had a 
population of three hundred millions, all Orientalists, and therefore 
persons to be understood in the British Isles. 

Kinglake and Brangwyn, then, go happily together, and usefully 
also. They take us far off from our gray and self-absorbed insularity 
and then bring us home with a sunrise in our minds — an East full 
of light and magic. There is nothing stale, flat, and unprofitable. 
The orange cover, upon which we see through an Eastern arch a 
city of promise, has nothing to do with the beaten track of bindings; 
and the half-title page has on it a white mosque and a quiet crowd, 
which takes its ease in an avenue of cypresses, dark trees and very 
tall. The plates are in colour, some little known and some familiar, 
like the Turkish fishermen with their trellised huts from the Prague 
Gallery, or the Orange Market at Jaffa, which I was lucky enough 
to reproduce in The Spirit of our Age. "Arabs on the Shore," from 
F.J. Fry's collection, and painted in 1897, is among the wittiest 
and happiest of Brangwyn's penetrations into character and manners. 
It reveals much that Western pride — or is it short-sighted careless- 
ness ? — cannot, or does not, perceive. These tall Arabs are stately 
figures and content with their lot. Though commoners, men of 
the people and poor, they have a well-bred look and carry themselves 
with an easy distinction. Some are seated, while others stand erect, 
and friendly badinage passes between them, with a reserve which has 
a long ancestry, and they have from nature a peculiar grace some- 
what akin to that of lions and tigers. 

Here is a higher type of physical man and manner than that which 
is bred and stereotyped by Western industrialism ; and it recalls to 
mind the fact, now forgotten perhaps, that many of the Indian 
troops at Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee were mistaken by most 
Londoners for Indian princes, so regal was their bearing on horse- 
back, and so high-bred their direct, proud faces. Is it not time that 
Europe should breed among her common folk both better looks and 


thoroughbred manners ? Rough Shetland ponies are all very well, 
but racehorses and shire horses are far and away preferable. Every 
sort of good caste Eastern is understood by Brangwyn, and I wish 
he could be busy for a year and more in India. A school-book on 
India, illustrated by him and written by Sir J. D. Rees, would be 
a liberal education in the conservative progress that our Empire can 
never do without. 

Meanwhile let us read or re-read this good edition of E'dt/ien, and 
let us hope that more pictures will appear soon in a reprint. Those 
which are published — " Eastern Music," for example, and " Moon- 
light in a Turkish Cemetery," "A Damascus Garden," "At the 
City Gates," and " Merchants and their Camels," with a gleaming 
distance of white architecture and a foreground aglow with amber 
and other mellow rich notes of colour — are entertainingly character- 
istic, but overmuch of Brangwyn's most impressive Eastern sympathy 
has been omitted. 

More than once he has proved his sympathy for "Omar Khaiyam," 
and we should note above all the plates that he added in 1913 to 
FitzGerald's version. This edition was published by Foulis in the 
Rose Garden Series, and Foulis has a liking for good workmanship 
whether old or new. He makes few mistakes; but I believe he 
went too far, when he put this edition of "Omar" into a lilac cover 
and between lilac forepaper and endpaper, lilac being one ot those 
colours which, like mauve and vermilion, should be used with chary 
thrift as rare notes in decorative harmonies. Dame Nature tones 
lilac with her gray brilliance and relieves it with tender green leaves, 
while in machine-made paper and cloth, lilac is as cold as death and 
almost as dissonant as emerald green. When put cheek by jowl 
with enough gold or enough black, as in illuminated work, lilac, like 
emerald green, sings pleasantly in chorus. 

There are eight illuminated pages in this edition of "Omar Khai- 
yam," beautifully printed, delicate and charming ; and eight illustra- 
tions in colour by Brangwyn, reproduced very small, yet keeping his 
abundant scale and the magic of his colour, complete a book that 
needs for its guardian a strong and a bold binding. It is with ex- 
quisite little books as with jewels, which set us thinking of safes and 
locks and keys. Yet there's a belief in England that delicate books 
ought to have delicate bindings, though a delicate binding is dirtied 
in a few months by our dusty and sooty towns. This false belief 
takes its rise from another — that harmonies ot affinity are better than 


harmonies of contrast. They are more feminine, of course, but in 
men's work, they are so effeminate that no great colourist has ever 
failed to employ rich neutral tones as a keyboard for triumphing 
harmonies of contrast. How to reconcile discords is among the 
essential victories that Brangwyn gains, like every other original 

Belgium, a book published in 1916, and The Poems of Verhaeren, 
with cuts by Brangwyn, belong to woodcuts and brush drawings, 
and will be considered in the next chapter. 



n good prints they are alike, and 
some woodcuts may be mistaken 
for good process reproductions 
from brush drawings; but many 
la one is cut straight upon wood, 
without a drawing to give help, only a few guiding lines being used 
to space out and to:point a premeditated design. 

Brush drawings make -their appeal in this book from a good many 
prints, headpieces and- tailpieces, bookplates also, and a civic revolt, 
swift and thrilling, like Delacroix's "La Barricade," but not so 
terrible as Meissonier's "La Barricade," dated 1848, with its desolated 
street littered with dead bodies not yet cold and rigid. Note also 
Brangwyn's black and white impression of a boxing match, a negro 
among sporting prints, which, though it comes not from an artist 
who, like Maurice Maeterlinck, is elusive and bruising with gloved 
fists, shows decoratively what movement and muscle and character 
are brusquely shadowed by one method of Brangwyn brush drawings. 
It is a method apart from that which you will find in many pen and 
brush drawings contributed to A Book of Bridges* where line and 
wash are equally graphic and original. Examples: Bridge of Boats 
at Cologne, a vast Gable Bridge at Gerona in Spain, Bridge at 
Waltham Abbey attributed to Harold ; Smyrna : Roman Bridge and 
Aqueduct, Ruins of a Roman Bridge at Brives-Charensac, France, 
Bridge at Zaragoza, partly Roman, Ponte Rotto, Rome, anciently 
Pons Palatinus or Senatorius ; Ponte Maggiore over a Ravine of the 
Tronto at Ascoli-Piceno, Primitive Timber Bridge in Bhutan, India, 
and — passing over other brisk and expressive sketches — a noble 
bridge across the Main at Wurzburg in Bavaria, built in 1474, and 
adorned with statues of saints in 1607. By contrasting these illus- 
trations with Brangwyn's methods in his two boxing matches, one 
in two colours, and one mainly in black, we get rapidly to close 
quarters with his versatile and often figurative handling of monotint 
wash, and pen lines and brush contours. 

Bookplates have added other notes to his graphic work with both line 
and brush. Some are etched Ex Libris : like the men carrying 

* By Frank Brangwyn and Walter Shaw Sparrow. John Lane, 1915. 

PRANGWYN & HUGH STOKES. ( Kegan Paul &' Co. } 

books (Nos. 8 1 and 82), or the boy crowned with a garland, who 
plays on cymbals above an Italian garden (No. 84) ; or, again, the 
plate inscribed "Ex Libris, Frank Newbolt " (No. 86). Here a 
full-rigged Tudor ship makes against a dark sky a bold and brave 
ornament. A bit of heraldry, a shield, is put in the right-hand 
corner of this bookplate; while at the top a scroll bears the inscrip- 
tion. Then there are some bookplates in colour; and as for those in 
brush drawing, Brangwyn has proved here, several times, though 
seldom elsewhere, and never as an etcher, that he loves birds and their 
value in ornament, decoration, and symbolism. Never does he forget, 
moreover, that changes of a ruling sort among social customs and 
manners ought always to leave marks of their activities on book- 
plates. At a time when cobwebs of the study no longer cling around 
most ripe scholarship, and when a duke, knowing that our times are 
non-aristocratic, is ready to practise the chivalry of strap-hanging on 
a tube railway, neither heraldic pride nor Latin motto-seeking 
belongs as a typical right and grace to many current hobbies and 
routines. Yet many a commonplace democrat, with not a word of 
Latin to trip into speech, picks up from a dictionary of classic maxims 
a Latin tag with which to part his bookplate from his family and 
friends. Armorial achievements among professed socialists and true 
democrats need no pedantry of this old sort, unless it be put into 
dummy books on the top shelves of lofty bookcases, where affecta- 
tions may well be kept with printed languages that we cannot read. 
Brangwyn wants to do bookplates for those men alone who are not 
ashamed to show in a design what they are as workers and readers 
and citizens. Good English, from Chaucer's day to our own, should 
have been deemed classical enough to be worn as a motto on any 
coat-of-arms or below any family crest. Though Montaigne 
delighted to hobnob with ancient master minds, concealing his quota- 
tions and his authors, so that his critics might give a stab to Plutarch 
or a fillip on the nose to Seneca, yet, as soon as he wished to find a 
maxim for his own workaday motto, he thought as a witty French- 
man, choosing the simple and ironic words : " Que Sais-Je ? What 
do I know ? " This alert modesty is a lesson to our fussy, flurried 
generation; and there can be no doubt at all that bookplates, as 
Brangwyn says, should be right as emblems as well as English, and 
modest in their mottoes. 

Their symbolism can be national sometimes and sometimes private 

and personal, to denote what a man likes as a hobby, or what he is 

2 G 225 

during the day's work, or what his family Hkes best to remember. 
Sailors have abundant motifs from which to make a choice, for 
example, so have soldiers, lawyers, barristers, judges, architects, men 
of letters, athletes and sportsmen, and all other sorts and conditions 
of men ; so that bookplates could and should express, with fitting 
emblematic designs and with original mottoes in English, what each 
generation of our countryfolk does and will do as a reader, and a 
worker, and a pleasure-seeker. Social history in brief, then, not 
heraldic honour or glory, whether real or feigned, is the main thing 
that we should wish to see among the bookplates designed by artists. 
Brangwyn has been far too busy to make this art anything more than 
a half-holiday on various occasions, as Newman, I believe, described 
to a friend his heart-abiding " Verses on Various Occasions "; but a 
few designs he adds year by year to his bookplates, while some other 
artists add — shall I call them " duds " ? — to theirs. 
And now let us turn to the essence of his work in brush drawing 
and wood engraving. It is found among four things : 

1. The tinted woodcuts published by the Fine Art Society, London, 
under the title : " At the Front and at the Base." These I have 
reviewed in a footnote on pages 189-90, in order to unite them to 
Brangwyn's War Posters. 

2. In significant and impressive work like "A Fair Wind," or like 
"The Exodus, Belgium, 1914," a subject which has inspired 
Brangwyn in several War Posters printed from stones. 

3. In a book on the Poems of Verhaeren, to be published in Paris 
by R. Helleu, for which Brangwyn has made about forty woodcuts, 
all so alive with imagination and so rich and varied in motif and 
expression that \^erhaeren examined proofs from the wood avec une 
grande emotion. I have entered some of these woodcuts in my index, 
and students of Brangwyn cannot give too much attention to their 
persuasive power and originality. They will note, for instance, eight 
full-page woodcuts: "La Mort," "The Church," with the religious 
ceremony in a street, "The Port," "A Colliery," "A Monk Preach- 
ing to a Throng of Workmen," "The Monument," "A Revolt," 
with a Gothic church in liames, and "Building a Ship." As for 
the smaller cuts, each has its own charm, and the headpieces and 
tailpieces come hot-foot from a great artist through the poems that 
he illumines as well as illustrates. In fact, Verhaeren and Brangwyn 


are at one, and the poet's enthusiasm over the proofs is the best re- 
compense that his interpreter can receive. 

4. In another memorable book on Belgium, accompanied by careful 
and sympathetic notes by Hugh Stokes, who knows his Belgium 
well. It was published in 191 6 by Kegan Paul, Trench, and Co., to 
be what is known as a Charity Book. In this time of war Brang- 
wyn did this work as an act of homage to a great little nation 
stricken by disaster.* 


In this book on the little towns of Flanders it is evident at once that 
Brangwyn's woodcuts have a manner all their own ; they are as apart 
from routine as is the volcanic and scientific warfare by which they 
were inspired to aid a "charity" — a word too often employed to-day 
as a synonym for duty. They come from a genuine innovation, de- 
pending for its effects on the varied art with which white lines and 
white shapes are flashed, as it were, upon a black surface, to fashion 
what I ask leave to call a meteoric picture, a picture so very ardent, 
and vivid, and expressive, that its lighting has a power not to be met 
with among other woodcuts, whose graphic method is a synthesis of 
black lines and shades on a white surface. 

Not only is this Brangwyn manner a realm apart, it is also auto- 
cratic, altogether arbitrary, though pregnant with magic. Its best 
aesthetic results are wonderful, inviting us to think of illuminations 
akin to those which come after dark from lightning and searchlight, 
or from luminous meteoric phenomena, or from active volcanoes, or 
else from star shells. If we speak of it, then, as searchlight wood 
engraving, thrown upon midnight darkness, we get as near as we 
can, in a figure of speech, to the very original poetry, incanescent 
here and incandescent there, that these new phases of Brangwyn de- 
coration often conquer from the little towns of Flanders. 
Vividness of harmonious effect from block printing between con- 
trasts of white and black owes much to differing papers : common 

* As a boy, let us remember, F. B. did much woodcutting and engraving, so tiiat his 
present delight in the qualities to be got from wood renews, as well as extends, a phase 
of his versatility. He never attached himself to the Bewick school of wood-engraving 
that derived its delicate fine lines from copper plates, preferring the broad, fat line 
which began to come into vogue just before the eighteen-sixties, when three periodi- 
cals — Cornhill, Good IVords, and Once a Week — started to lead the way in a series 
of sterling woodcuts after Houghton, Pinwell, Fred. Walker, Whistler, Millais, and 
others also. 


wood-pulp rubbish dulling the blacks, while Japanese paper gives in 
full measure to Brangwyn's woodcuts their eruptive brilliance and 
their eery power and charm. 

But we must carry this analysis a good step farther. Let us remember 
that action gives rise to slow reaction only when it is mild, gradual, 
and close to ruling customs and routines. As soon as it grows intense, 
like this white-hot crescendo of innovating light and mystery, swift 
and intense reaction is invited, and many a mind, I fear, accepts the 
invitation with a will, though a little reflection would or should 
convince it that Brangwyn has called up into graphic art woodcuts 
and brush drawings not less valuable than they are off the beaten 
track, somewhat like Edgar Poe's tales, which Brangwyn should 
translate into his uncanny wood engraving. Yet this newness, so 
ardent, superlative, unique, would be easier to enjoy if it were put 
before the world with as much thrift, as much royal avarice, as a 
musician of genius employs when he goes at full strength and speed 
into an orchestration that seems to make symphonies out of thunder 
peals and exploding shells. 

A woodcut here and there suggests another analogy. Here, for 
example, is tempered moonlight around and upon the cathedral and 
belfry of Tournay, which seem to be lit up by — may I suggest a 
flight of angels flushing into sorrowful anger as they pass through a 
nation ravaged by foul war ? You may dream into it what you 
please, so very suggestive is the ghostly or spectral design enchanted 
from black by white, leaving the black pure in many places and 
making it incanescent elsewhere. This art, which evokes a dark city 
at midnight into a dim etiolation, is not for all the world ; and let it 
be shown in a book with a thrift like that which should rule over 
the use of rare gems amid a drilled and dressed assembly at Court. 
As Crown jewels are kept in the Tower of London, so there are 
manifestations of unique art which should be kept by their producer 
under lock and key, as it were, to be revealed now and then, by books 
and exhibitions, in a few chosen examples only. Koh-i-noors would 
be prized no more than herrings if they were as numerous and as 
easy to get. 

If unique splendour is to put its own complete spell on everyone 
who has imagination, and a willingness to feel intensely, its qualities 
should never be seen all at once in a large enough number of 
kindred things to stale their uniqueness. After reaction, as a rule, 
staleness comes. A fire burns down into ashes, which glow and 


BRANGWYN & HUGH STOKES. ( Kegnn Paul &• Co.) 

smoulder until they die out one by one. Such fires are lighted by 
most innovation, and they burn fiercely for months or years, then 
flicker into cold commonplaces. 

Already I have listened to some fierce raids on Brangwyn's woodcuts 
in his Belgian Book; listened, for a man vv^ho replies by word of 
mouth to flood-tide dislike or reaction, is as foolish as he would be 
if he hurled barrels of gunpowder into a burning house. Listen 
quietly, then, remembering that noisy fault-finding is no more 
criticism than the crash of a falling tree is arboriculture. Besides, it 
is the lot of genius to strike flame from hard minds, and Brangwyn 
has passed from one stake to another in that sort of censure which 
is intended to burn or scorch. 

But when I ask myself why his great Belgian Book has enabled me 
to hear once more such hot and foolish talk as that which assailed 
"The Buccaneers," and "Trade on the Beach," and "St. Simeon 
Stylites," and "The Scoffers," and even "The Cider Press"; when 
I ask myself this question, one answer comes from day to day, and 
it seems to be correct : that too many jewels were put into the same 
casket when the book on Belgium was gemmed with fifteen initial 
letters, twenty-three headpieces and tailpieces, and nine and twenty 
full-page plates.* We see, then, that Brangwyn's original search- 
light, with its unique brilliance, its eruptions of glorious patterning 
white on midnight darkness, appears in no fewer than fifty-two 
designs, excluding the initial letters. 

For all that, it is a book enchanted, and surely permanent ; a 
classic in English book production. Is it really above the heads of 
that vast public to whom the Charity Books published since 19 14, to 
the injury of many authors and their families, have made a frequent 
appeal.? As well offer Dante and Milton to a music-hall audience. 
For the rest, though too many jewels triumph less than just enough, 
the excess of innovating beauty in this book may be countered by 
those who wish to enjoy it properly. 

Indeed, there are two ways by which this excess of beauty may be 
neutralized. So let me say a few words on each. The main thing 
to be considered is the influence of those plates where this new art 
is most superlatively itself, a quite wondrous glory of insurgent white 
design flashing out from a blackness that answers formidably ; as in 
The Cloth Hall at Ypres, where architecture and graphic art are 
transfigured as by an aurora borealis. Other examples are the Palais 

* H. G. Webb engraved fifteen blocks, and C. W. Moore ten. 


des Archives at Malines, quite magical, and The Calvary of St. Paul 
at Antwerp; The Church of St. Walburge at Furnes, which seems 
to be illumined by a bursting star shell, and The Broil Toren at 
Courtray, with its darkling poplars; also The Belfry and Town Hall 
at Ghent, where enchanted flags and banners wave from black 
phantom buildings above an uncertain procession that might well be 
a midnight visit under the moon from dead rivals who are not yet 
friends. In all these kindred invocations the frisky Ulenspiegel 
would be at home, with his friend Lamme Goedzak, and Nele also, 
"sweet as a saint and beautiful as a fairy," though daughter of an 
old witch named Katheline.'"' 

But if you look at them all in the same hour, or on the same day, 
you will set them to cancel one another by staling their brilliance 
and their eeriness. Don't, then ! On the same day never look at 
more than two or three, and for the same reason which caused Edgar 
Poe to say that a long poem must be read as a series of short poems^ 
if good sense wants to answer the appeals in a proper mood and with 
full enjoyment. 

Further, the Church of St. Walburge at Furnes ought to be compared 
with Brangwyn's etchings of the same architecture. Then you will 
see that his woodcut, though it seems to be a flashlight in arbitrary 
decoration, has achieved more than the etched work, just as moon- 
light and sunlight achieve more than gray weather. And it is 
equally useful to compare Brangwyn's woodcut of Windmills at 
Bruges with the noble etching in which they are transfigured. I 
know not which is preferable as a work of original vision and un- 
common emotion. Different qualities are present, but equally satisfy- 
ing. Note, too, that although Brangwyn in many etchings has proved 
himself a master of crowd impressions, he is a better master often in 
the crowds that people the foregrounds of a good many woodcuts ; 
though I wish he had not put a democrat orator into his woodcut 
of the Cathedral of St. Peter at Louvain, as he has used this mordant 
good idea in his etching of Notre Dame, Paris. 

In St. Peter's at Louvain the engraving follows vertically the grain 
of the wood block, which runs up the cathedral and the sky, white 
and gray lines etiolating a black surface until spectral architecture 
with its many pointed windows looms out from a streaked sky, across 

* Have you read the story in which De Coster has renewed the adventurous follies of 
Thyl Ulenspiegel .'' Thirty years ago I read it with delight. That it has not been 
done into English, and illustrated by Brangwyn and Rackham, is a thousand pities. 


which, high up, from another building, a gargoyle juts forth its head. 
The sky here is a quivering duotone, while in some other woodcuts 
it has either sinister or unearthly effects, with rolling cumulus clouds 
piled into what I feel tempted to call a rhapsody of flashing move- 
ment, as behind the Palais des Archives at Malines. 
And there's another thing to be sought by those who wish not to be 
startled into inept criticism by a new method as powerful as it is at 
odds with custom. Several full-page plates, like the charming old 
timber house at Ypres, now destroyed by shell fire, or like the heroic 
old street at Antwerp, at once exquisite and venerable, would put life 
and charm into any book on architecture, so much do they give of 
form and mass and inward spirit. Consider, too, the neglected 
Abbey of Ter Doest at Lisseweghe. What a genuine discovery ! It 
is a godsend to students of primitive architecture, for its great facade 
comes sweeping down to earth as a triangle, a vast and rich gable of 
the thirteenth century at rest upon the ground. Five pointed 
windows remain, each with two lights and a round eye in its head. 
A lean-to of some sort has been added by spoiling hands to hide the 
lower part of this rare fa9ade. Bruised, battered, in ruins, this abbey 
is treated as little more than a grange, seemingly an offshoot from a 
farm, so Brangwyn has added a timber-wagon and its horses — a 
pleasant mask across that lean-to. 

Sidney O. Addy will be charmed by this woodcut. In his excel- 
lent book on the Evolution of Our English House he treats of 
triangular buildings, gables on land, and shows two in photographs. 
One of them is an Irish example at Dingle, known as the "oratory" 
of Gallerus; a primeval structure made of dry rubble masonry and 
with only one room, 15 ft. 3 in. long by 10 ft. wide. The other 
example is a thatched house at Scrivelsby, near Horncastle, popu- 
larly known as Teapot Hall, and built of two pairs of straight 
crucks. These crucks or gavels extend from the four corners of 
Teapot Hall to the ridge-tree, which they support, and the frame- 
work is firmly strengthened by wind-braces. In length, breadth, 
and width this triangular home is nineteen feet. Bede tells us that 
Bishop Eadberht removed the wattles from a church built in this 
way and covered it all over with lead, from its roof to the walls 
themselves; and we learn also, on Malmshury's evidence, quoted 
by Addy, that an old church at Glastonbury was covered with 
lead from its summit to mother earth. Here, then, we find 
triangle churches of the eighth and twelfth centuries, so the 


Abbey of Ter Doest, or All Saints, at Lisseweghe, had sacred 

And now we pass on to the second means by which anyone who 
does not yet know Brangwyn's book on Belgium can prevent its 
uncanny woodcuts from seeming too many and too startling. Since 
1 9 14 two books of woodcuts on the little towns of Flanders have 
been published, and it is useful to both when they are studied 
together, because they come from kindred spirits, though their 
methods differ. The second one contains twelve woodcuts by Albert 
Delstanche, with good notes by the engraver and a charming pre- 
fatory letter from the later Emile Verhaeren.* If you compare Del- 
stanche's treatment of the Quai Vert at Bruges with Brangwyn's 
Pont des Baudets at Bruges, or Brangwyn's Cathedral of St. Rom- 
baut at Malines with Delstanche's decorative vision of the Belfry at 
Bruges, you will see at once that these artists are cater-cousins in 
their woodcuts, though their orchestration of black and white 
differs. Yes, and Delstanche's old houses on Le Quai aux Herbes, 
Ghent, is a parallel to Brangwyn's etching of old houses in the same 
proud city ; and what Verhaeren wrote to Delstanche brings us very 
close indeed to Brangwyn's enchanted Belgium: — 

" You are working here in London from notes and rough sketches made in 
happier days, and you are ignorant as to whether the beauty you are reveal- 
ing is already dead or still alive. But the very strain of this uncertainty 
will inspire you, surely, with a deeper fervour, and you will approach your 
work with a sort of ardent piety and a sense of almost sacred devotion. 
For it is certainly true that anything we love, when danger threatens it more 
and more, grows more and more dear to us. The very stones of our towns 
are like memories, mustered and brought together from age to age ; so they 
have become blended with our inmost thoughts and feelings — a pile of little 
souls, as it were, massed and cemented in a bond of perfect sympathy. . . . 
"These little towns, then, began by arousing your interest. Later you 
grew to love them ; and now you lavish on them all your art. For you 
know . . . their quiet streets — where at footfall of a passer-by, little 
curtains at small windows flutter apart that those within may look out and 
see who it is that can be troubling the silence. You are familiar, too, with 
places made glorious by lights of long ago, where blood was spilt in those 
famous combats between Fullers and Weavers, Butchers and Brewers ; you 
have listened to the tragic bourdon of big bells, and airy music from the 
carillon, with grave and punctual chimes that sound from many a clock 
tower. You have loitered at inns, at the Trois Rois or the Cheval Blanc, to 

* The Little Towns of Flanders. Chatto and Windus. Price 1 2/6 net. 


BRANGWVN & HUGH STOKES. (^Kegan Paul &• Co.) 

sketch from Its doorway a brewer's cart whose pile of barrels oozes at the 
bung with frothy ale; ... and you have loved to stand a-gaze at the same 
old bridge with Its three arches, reflected so clearly in the water that you 
almost hope to descry there the arrow that an invisible archer is strinein? 
to his bow, to shoot the mirrored stars.* And even now you can recall to 
mind the pitch of that roof at the far end of a market-place, or the an^le of 
that gable on the front of a burgomaster's house, or the column und^'er an 
oriel window at the left of a market-place, or that carved capital, in the 
right aisle of the Cathedral, which beautifies St. Peter's Chapel with its 
Norman monsters intertwined in a struggle of tooth and claw So 

you are able to translate more than the crude reality of these thinc^s You 
surprise out ot them their spiritual significance. For you do not try to 
separate the image from its aureole ; on the contrary, you are content that 
the aureole shall give its value to the image. You succeed, then, not 
merely in entertaining us, but also, and much more, you make us feel 
And your book, it will be a book of faith. For it is understood, is it not! 
that everything of ours that is down shall soon rise again; that Ypres 
Dixmude, Most, Termonde, Louvain, Dinant, Vise, will lie in ruins only 
tor so long as their invader soils our soil; that already stones that are 
fallen, but not broken, begin to be impatient to regain their true position, 
here on a pediment, there on the base of a column; and that from the 
death of so many things shall spring the life of many things more. Thanks 
to your woodcuts handled so tenderly and confidently, this resurrection of 
the little towns of Flanders will come to pass, perhaps all the more quickly. 
You are giving us good counsel. It is the best I can wish you. And it 
will be, I trust, your reward." 

Nobly said, and in bulk even more apposite as a tribute to Bran^wyn's 
vision than to that of Delstanche ; for the frequent comin^ of a 
supernatural spell and glory into the Brangwyn woodcuts may be 
taken sometimes as a prophecy full of hope, a transfiguration of to- 
day and a suggester of that new birth through which the torn and 
trampled httle towns of Flanders must be made to pass: above all by 
those who, in the years before this war, often made their homes in 
a gabled quietness as eloquent as an aged chronicle. Once more as 
in Brangwyn 's woodcut, happy poor shall taste the anodyne of a 
sweet serene charity below the great beams of a Cloth Hall at Ypres • 
and once more, as in Brangwyn 's woodcut, at a midnight service a 
wonderful mystery of darkness and glowing light shall dwell within 
a Gothic church at Dixmude. To Brangwyn then, who was born 
at Bruges, and to myself also, who lived in Belgium for the greater 
part of ten student years abroad, there can be nothing now that is 

* See Brangwyn's "Pont des Baudets at Bruges." 
2 H 


prosaic within the little towns of Flanders, where a whole race of 
men, age after age, put itself into monuments before each of its 
generations made way for another. Whether Brangwyn gives a 
manifold realness to the lofty Castle of Walzin, Province of Namur, 
or records the ruins of Villers Abbey with a procession of monks 
who revisit the midnight air, a genuine poetry as epical as history 
informs his technical expression ; and so we get to close quarters 
with the inward secrets of this book on stricken Belgium, who has 
yet to feel even the presence of purgatory after four years of a 
Prussian hell. How completely tragical her lot has been ; and yet, 
note with grief, how seldom her lot is mentioned in daily talk!* 
Even her most native poet, true expression of her deeper and better 
self, Emile Verhaeren, died tragically, as if sorrows must end their 
frieze of tragedies as sculptors do a frieze of figures, in a line but 
little broken and on the same plane. But yet the frieze of tragedies 
will end : so I turn once more to Brangwyn's vision of the sometime 
Cloth Hall at Ypres, glorious in a northern daybreak, a wondrous 
dawn ascending in streams of light toward the zenith from be- 
hind a black bank of cloud below the old tower and its pinnacled 
high roof. 

Still, I know that this interpretation of imaginative art comes within 
the verdict that Russell Lowell delivered on human speech : 

" Words pass as wind, but where great deeds were done 
A power abides : transferred from sire to son." 

* This was written in the tragical spring of 1918. 




fis frequent work in this melodious 
medium dates from his first marine 
period and the Royal Academy of 
1 1887, when, at the age of twenty, 
'he began to take his place among 
our aquarellists, exhibiting a sober and reticent study named 
"Sunday." It was a sailor's day of rest, with men at ease in the 
stern of a boat, leaning over the side and puffing idly at their 

Eight years ago I wrote a chapter on the general trend of Brang- 
wyn's water-colours — a brief chapter about four pages long — in 
order that they might be seen more or less in focus among the more 
important work done during five and twenty years of professional 
industry. Too much was said about Melville, who owed as much 
to Brangwyn as Brangwyn owed to him. They had a kindred 
courage, an Orientalist daring that a great many persons either 
feared or flouted, and each aided the other to go ahead cheerily, 
using their own colours without awe of authority, and shaping their 
lives without obedience to routine. They had made up their minds 
that their outlook on life and art should not fall asleep in any old 
lap of custom. Controversy raged around them, and the heat of 
those days — or one somewhat like it — may be recalled to memory 
by quoting a passage from H. M. Cundall's A History of Water- 
Colour Painting. In the last page of this book, after a few 
remarks on Brabazon, who is dubbed "an amateur painter of con- 
siderable means," H. M. Cundall says: — 

"Although there has been much clever work executed with rapid effects 
produced solely by the brush, it is doubtful whether a teaching which dis- 
penses with accurate drawing of details with a pencil, and relies solely on 
broad washes, now pervading even schools for the instruction of children, 
will ultimately become a permanent one. 'That there is,' says Sir William 
Richmond, R.A., 'a great mass of amateur work exhibited as consummate 
shorthand, much praised and prized by persons of strangely distorted taste, 
is evident and growing, so that being trained to accept as great that which 
is small, and what is puerile is advanced as naive, this work can easily be 
tested upon principles laid down by modern dicta : " as little labour as 
possible, as much indifferent drawing as possible, as little selection as possi- 


ble, as ugly as possible, and as badly painted as possible" : nor is it needful 
to test the work of a great artist by any theories.'" 

The answer to all this criticism is not far to seek. First of all, action 
of every sort produces a reaction, which has its beginning among 
those who hate innovation ; and from action and reaction alike art 
and life gather good and evil, blessings and banes ; classics, inveterate 
customs, and some catastrophes. Then, as regards the need of 
testing the work of a genius by theories, as well try to test by theories 
the rival beauties of sunrises and sunsets, or the infinite varied moods 
through which the sea passes from year to year. Are Mantegna 
and Luini to be tested by the same principles, or Raphael and Michel- 
angelo, or Herrick and Shakespeare, for example .'' What Emile 
Verhaeren wrote on Brangwyn is true of all original artists who are 
inspired by unusual power : 

" One does not speak of this Master with ordinary calmness. Customary 
measures of praise and blame are out of place. Unwittingly, one's tone is 
pitched higher. Violent attack can be understood. A hesitating and cold 
examination is not permissible. Frank Brangwyn impassions like all 
complete and mighty artists. He is accused of being romantic, but how 
can this accusation touch him ? It employs a term so obscure that none has 
ever been able to define it clearly. Classic, realist, symbolist, romantic ! 
What is there more vague and more irresolute .'' As well might we make 
a public prosecution in the name of a cloud that is blown across the sky ! " 

Results alone count ; " by their fruit ye shall know them " ; and 
results can be tested fairly by those alone who have trained eyes, and 
unbiassed minds, with a willing sympathy; and who remember that 
great men are but superior men, not demigods, and have their defects. 
In water-colour Brangwyn has been himself, bold always, and often apt 
as an explorer, a collector of adventures, some little and others big. 
To the Royal Academy of i 890 he sent a large gray aquarelle, with 
loiterers on a pierhead who watched a foreign boat come in ; and a 
larger one was exhibited the same year at the Grosvenor Gallery. 
Its motif was a group of fishermen reading T/ie Weekly Dispatch 
in the yard of a seaside inn. They had come upon a good story, and 
each enjoyed it in his own way. The colour was gray and quiet; 
but in 1890, also, at the British Artists, an oil sketch of men 
" Loading Grain on the Danube " marked a coming change in 
Brangwyn's outlook, gamut, and technique. Two years later this 
fact was evident in a vivid, splashing water-colour, " Puerta de 
Passage, Spain." 


'•■ '^■>«^^-^'^ -■ 


Between 1895 ^"*^ ^9°4 ^i^ water-colour was represented at various 
exhibitions by "The Market Place of Algeciras," "The Beach at 
Funchal, Madeira," and "A Moorish Well," which was bou2;ht for 
the Luxembourg Gallery, and which to this day represents worthily 
his Easternism. A Morocco boy in a golden yellow gown carries a 
water-gourd, and behind is a group of figures, who make plots of 
sunned form against sober green bushes. Every touch has verve 
and life in it : and hue after hue joins in a vigorous cry of good 
original colour. Boldness and breadth, with illusion, belong to 
Eastern effects of heat, light and repose, and they are present in this 

Two years later, in 1907, as an immediate forerunner of an etching 
now famous, Brangwyn painted on blue paper a design called 
"Boatbuilders, Venice," employing body-colour with resonant effect. 
Frequently I distrust coloured paper — except in such a drawing as 
Brangwyn's " Ironworkers," where a tinted paper accords quite well 
with the local tone and the impact which a fine subject in its own 
setting expresses. Often I am sure that coloured paper does no more 
than enforce a rather despotic convention on drawing. Now drawing 
is conventional itself: partly because there are no lines in Nature, and 
partly because all things in Nature are veiled by atmosphere, even 
dark holes never being so black as ink, or black chalk, or soft pencil. 
In drawing, then, we have to admit, as an essential art factor, that, 
while painting and its surface technique reveal by various methods a 
selection of natural coloured forms, which pattern one upon another 
in unified contrasts and concords of light and dark tones and hues, 
a master of linear drawing has to employ a stringed instrument alone 
and not an orchestra. He is a Paganini, not a Wagner, and he 
must display the strings upon which and with which he charms 
us into his convention. White paper helps him because it throws 
into relief his convention; it intensifies his black lines, while repre- 
senting by its colour the sky, with the sky's reflections and the sun's 
luminous magic. It is thus a symbol that retains enough nature to 
keep us face to face with Nature's clearest light value in our field 
of vision out of doors ; but as soon as a tinted paper is chosen and 
employed as a background for a drawing, whether a line drawing or 
a coloured design or composition, we fear that Nature's luminous 
field — her sky and the sky's agencies of light — may vanish altogether ; 
we may cease to find any normal order of relationship between the 
various elements of a picture. Then, as I have said, a despotic 


convention is imposed upon an art already conventional, and many 
a danger is added voluntarily to the difficulties and risks which 
traditional tools and materials keep in an art as natives. 
Blue paper denotes the Venetian sky and its reflections, but it does 
not suit Venetian houses and a yard in which gondolas are built, and 
it makes the use of body-colour necessary, though the most beautiful 
and varied qualities of aquarelle come from luminous paper under 
washes of pigment which, in glow, impact and transparence, are 
various, melodious, and free from the glossiness of dried oil paints. 
For these reasons I prefer white paper under water-colour, though I 
know that Brangwyn, like other men of genius, has a right to break 
rules and principles. As a disciple who tries to interpret his ver- 
satility, I do not question this right; but as this book will be read, I 
hope, by some young art students, among other students of art, let me 
say that an Achilles named a man of genius has his own bow and his 
own archery, both too strong for lesser men to practise with. 
It is true that Cotman, a rare spirit indeed, used tinted papers pretty 
often, and gave substance to a good many of his water-colours, em- 
ploying a sort of paste — I know not how he made it — and not flake 
white. Another giant, David Cox, used coarse tinted paper under 
some grand broad impressions which used to be deemed too rugged ; 
and Turner also, for sketches, went away sometimes from that 
passion for translucency which, during the dark period of his early 
oils, when Loutherbourg and William Daniell were among his glean- 
ing fields, caused him to sprinkle a prepared canvas with sand, in 
order that grains of sand might sparkle dimly like wee globes of 
light under his pigment. Great art being Nature passed through the 
alembic of genius, we accept with a level mind what a genius does, 
off and on, outside his usual practice, though we have a right to 
choose what we like best from his deeds done. 

When I look back at Brangwyn's early work in water-colour and try 
to see it in company with the later, I feel how varied and honour- 
able his course has been, and mainly in original sketching. To 
speak figuratively, he has produced many a sketched ode, many a 
lyric, like the exquisite "Valley of the Lot," many a beautiful 
tinted elegy of the wayside and the countryside, with a few stern 
tragedies, a comedy here and there, and a few epics, like the 
"Exodus from Stricken Messina." There's truth in what Whistler 
wrote: — "Nature contains the elements, in colour and form, of all 
pictures, as the keyboard contains the notes of all music. But the 


artist is born to pick and choose, and group with science, these 
elements, that the result may be beautiful — as the musician gathers 
his notes, and forms his chords, until he brings forth from chaos 
glorious harmony. To say to the painter that Nature is to be taken 
as she is, is to say to the player, that he may sit on the piano." It 
is in Brangwyn's water-colour that we see most intimately — almost 
in the nude, so to speak — how he picks and chooses elements from 
Nature, and then groups them with science swiftly and spon- 
taneously. Long practice as an artist has taught him to do ; instinct 
guides his choice of motif and his use of fine colour ; but science, 
which teaches a man /<? kfww, rules over his versatile spacing and 


Since 1910 water-colour has been a necessary companion on his 
holidays. It is convenient to carry, it dries quickly ; its brushes are 
easy to wash, and it is not much affected by windblown dust. If 
you travel with oil colours and canvases they rule over you, and you 
become a menial to your tools and materials. As for the aquarelles 
that unite 19 10 to the present day, they do in sketches precisely 
what Brangwyn is bound to do, unless he runs counter to his own 
genius ; and thus my interpretation must sum up from his water- 
colour work as a whole and in its most notable aspects and allusive 

He has done one set of water-colour impressions, numbering about 
fifty, that may be described, without extravagance, as tragic and 
epical. In 1908, after the earthquake, Brangwyn went to Messina, 
as we have learnt from a few of his etchings, and these fifty water- 
colours are the history of his experiences. Two Messina sketches 
were seen as colour-plates in my earlier book ; and the whole series 
proved, with mingled glow and gloom, pathos and satire, grandeur 
and meanness, that men of a day among the ruins were often about 
as foolish as moths are at night when they see naked flames. Now 
and then gamblers and thieves were busy, and some other fools made 
themselves into beasts with drink and revel. Contrasts between 
prayer and levity jostled one another, as if comic songs at a death- 
bed would enforce attention, like deep harmony. Below the 
Duomo, itself partly a ruin, and awed as by Dante, little busy men 
would pray sometimes, and at other times would care not a jot, 
seemingly, that Nature had ruled again over human pride, destroying 


with terrible speed what men had put up with slow pains. Human 
vice remained, and gregarious custom, with half-hours of emotional 
prayer, and some other ordinary good behaviour. 
Thus, in Brangwyn's historic water-colours, sketched at a white heat 
among sinister ruins, Messina in one aspect seems to be what Chaucer 
writes about drunkenness — a horrible sepulture of man's reason ; more 
fate-haunted, of course, since earthquake has made an epic of desola- 
tion where many a year of good material work done by man is injured, 
or broken, or smashed. Yet we cannot say that human folly seems 
to have a longer tenure of life than human thought and handicraft, 
for almost all we know about many a people and many a tongue is 
learnt from what seems to be the first and most fragile of man's in- 
ventions, pottery, fictile art, like those clay vases wherein primitive 
tribes buried their enshrined dead. But yet it is imperative that 
painters, like other historians, should gather from disaster all that 
Brangwyn learnt both of nature and of human nature amid the 
wreckage, grand and mean, at Messina. 

For art is a great deal more than it is summed up to be by Rodin's 
four aphorisms. It is more than taste, and more than a reflection of 
an artist's heart upon all things that he creates ; more also than the 
smile of a human soul upon the home and its furnishing; and more 
than thought and sentiment — each with its charm — embodied in all 
that is of use to mankind. Art retains past ages, and reveals our 
own times, and along many lines foretells what is to come, else it 
could have no chance of being accepted by future generations; and 
it owes quite as much to tragedy as to those sacred qualities which 
make some lives and some works nearer to a selfless candour and 
peace than most men are in their prayers. Messina in art, after an 
earthquake, is thus as valuable to us as a Fra Angelico, or a Cardinal 
Newman, whose very controversies prove him to be as a saint among 
lovely and gracious poets. 

A collector offered to buy for the Tate Gallery one of Brangwyn's 
Messina sketches, if the men in office would receive it properly ; but 
some policy of the backstairs became too active, and the water- 
colour went elsewhere. Yet Turner's water-colour sketches, and his 
grand feeling for tragedy among the Swiss mountains and in wrecks 
and naval battles, should have taught even momentary men in office 
that Messina and Brangwyn should be accepted together, being as 
durable in water-colour as paper and pigment would be. I have 
no doubt that Turner would uphold the best of Brangwyn's Messina 




sketches were he living to-day. He was drawn toward painters 
who, hke Girtin, Cotman, J. J. Chalon, George Jones, and WiUiam 
Daniell, had grit enough to adventure. 

As I have hinted, many of Brangwyn's impressions in water-colour, 
easy, swift, and slight, are to him no more than shorthand notes are 
to travelling men of letters, quite necessary as aids to future work, 
but likely to irritate those who help to form the cocksure dunciad 
ot mediocrity. Dunces like to fizz over when they see things 
outside their ken; it would tire them to seek in their brain for a 
little thought. Brangwyn's coloured shorthand was frequent in the 
Messina jottings: and hence, perhaps, the Tate Gallery episode. 
But every sketch heralded the principal Messina etchings, preparing 
their artist for work more testing than any other — sublimation, 
the act of putting a tragedy into aphoristic brevity and power. Three 
plates were etched at Messina, and of these one is memorable, 
"The Headless Crucifix"; but for incantation we return to large 
plates etched from water-colours and other sketches, like the Im- 
macolata di Marmor and the Church of the Holy Ghost. 
Does Brangwyn himself set a high enough value on his water- 
colour notes, wayside jottings, and studies .? Does he keep enough 
of them always at hand : hoarding these confidential memoranda as 
Charles Lamb cherished books, thumbed old folios and " ragged 
veterans"? It seems to me that he gets rid of far too many, reveal- 
ing his methods through all their ways, and his most secret emotions 
in their gestation. As a rule, even when sketches are given to the 
world as posthumous works, like diaries and private letters, their cream 
alone should be circulated, unless they come from inferior artists, 
mere moments in art. Dewint's wayside jottings were dispersed 
unthoughtfully, and now that collectors decline to sell his best 
sketches, his oddment industry has begun to rise up against his fame. 
English water-colour has been harmed often by a want of reverence 
for sketches. Turner alone setting a just store by them and treasuring 
vast numbers. But Turner, like Tennyson, watched over his spiritual 
products as jewellers do over gems. He was far too astutely cautious 
to display with abandon to all the world his methods and their 
undress of gradual development. So he declined to teach drawing — 
except, it is said, to Fawkes of Farnley, his host of hosts ; and once 
when Mrs. Paris, Fawkes of Farnley's daughter, appealed to him 
about a technical matter, he touched with a forefinger his out- 
stretched palm, hinting that his words of water-colour were to be 

2 I 241 

bought at a price perhaps, but not by a pretty and sweet manner in 
asking questions. Good Turner ! His loneliness was peopled with 
sketches, sunny parts of himself. 

That Brangwyn and others do not prize their sketching enough, 
though a thing to be noted, is not a thing at all hard to explain. 
Its results, as a rule, are as intimately personal as the counterfoils of 
their cheque-books, where the autobiography of their finance in 
spending is as evident as the autobiography of their moods and 
methods will ever be in their unrehearsed efforts, outlines, rapid 
impressions, and hinted improvisations. But sketching to a Brangwyn 
is a great deal easier, because far and away more pleasant, than 
signing cheques, and we value most what we do with most difficulty. 
Turner was aided by the fact that the art of water-colour — an art, 
too, of English development and English practice, like mezzotint — 
was often snubbed as a Cinderella, so that even Cotman, that prince 
of style, had to teach drawing, like Dewint, a colourist unique : and 
like Cox, our English Corot, full of English breeze, beauty, and 

Brangwyn has points of affinity with these masters ; loving colour, 
romance, and the sea as deeply as Turner loved them; feeling as near 
to mother earth as Dewint was and is all through his profuse work ; 
and being as fond as was David Cox of that peculiar, merry music 
that seems to have no other homes than those that it plays from 
among British landscapes, English, Welsh, and Scotch, with their 
backgrounds of wondrous clouds. 

To-day, fuller by far than in 1910,! see Brangwyn as a legatee of 
English water-colour. Some have put a wrong name on his apt 
allusive glow, sparkle, breadth, rush, and unity, calling his water- 
colour a rebel against our national medium and its traditions ; though 
the newness he has added, easily, spontaneously, is not more of a rebel 
than was the varied newness that came from Girtin, Turner, Cotman, 
James Holland and David McKewan. Note, too, how emphatic 
is the contrast between John Cozens and David Cox, Rowlandson and 
J. F. Lewis, Hearne and Tom Collier, John Gilbert and our Metsu, 
J. D. Linton, or Albert Moore and Charles Green, our Jan Steen. 
F. B. and Rowlandson have several fine points of union, notably their 
weight of style and their frank outlook on common lives ; and to Row- 
landson we may add, with some reserve, the impetuous John Gillray, 
whose political and satirical drawings, in number more than twelve 
hundred, and in force and fun and mood often akin to Rabelais, are 


fat with life and jocund, frequently, with beer and broad farce. Off 
and on Gillray used water-colour, and as boldly as he employed chalk 
and pen. Brangwyn could never be coarse, as Gillray is often, but 
he has shown more than once, as in "The Mountebank," that frolic 
and satire can go cheek by jowl with his other gifts. And then there's 
Gilbert, Sir John Gilbert, whose best water-colours, robust and alive, 
versatile, vehement and fanciful, give Brangwyn another team 
companion among his forerunners. Though Gilbert worked far too 
much " out of his head," as children say, he was a big man by right 
of birth ; and such work as his "Crusaders on the March," with the 
weight of steel and the pride of chivalry — or again " The Arrival of 
Cardinal Wolsey at Leicester Abbey " — reveals his cousinship with 
Brangwyn. The Crusaders do march, as F. B.'s warships do sail and 
fight ; and as for the Wolsey, on a sheet of paper 14I" by 2ij", we 
find an abundant decoration lit up by cardinal scarlet outside old 
Leicester Abbey. Dramatic verve is evinced through a throng to 
a sky troubled by wind and storm, yet, somehow, as in Brangwyn, 
without fuss and noise, with a certain quietude inside the decisive 
power, impetus, and improvised romance. Gilbert ought to have 
been our Delacroix of water-colour, but he was far and away too 
busy, scattering often with rich depth ot colour, and often with 
surprising vigour, stocks of ideas that seem to have no end. 
As a rule we have to look abroad among foreigners, mainly French, 
when we wish to aid our interpretation by placing Brangwyn side 
by side with his affinities, cater-cousins, and other free birds of a 
feather. But no sooner do we come to his varied records in water- 
colour than his kinsmen, both near and weak of blood, are found to 
be English, one and all. He would have been at his ease with 
Ibbetson, and Cristall at his best ; with Luke Clennell, too, who 
illustrated Fielding and Smollett, and painted in water-colour 
"Newcastle Ferry"; and then there's the good Frederick Tayler, 
of whom Ruskin says in Modern Painters : " There are few 
drawings of the present day that involve greater sensation of power 
than those of Frederick Tayler. Every stroke tells, and the 
quantity of effect obtained is enormous in proportion to the apparent 
means." Consider this praise, and note how truly it may be applied 
to those water-colours into which Brangwyn has instilled his 
happiest hours out of doors — in Spain, Italy, France, the Near 
East, and elsewhere. Tayler is a colourist, and, as a rule, it is in his 
rapid improvisations, his cheery sketches at their best, and not in 


finished pictures, that he, like Peter Dewint, is a classic, perhaps for 
many centuries. With some men, effort is failure, while work in a 
flash wins with ease a fame that abides, or a charm that lives on and 
on. When Tayler with an alive touch summoned into a hawking 
scene his cavaliers and chatty, coaxing ladies, all aglow with high 
elegance and freedom, his joyous art came presto as a creature of 
impulse, as by magic ; and so do Brangwyn's bolder and deeper 
transcripts of the life he loves best when he travels. In 191 2 about 
a dozen typical water-colours were made at Toledo, and in France 
he has made find after find- — at Larogue, Figeac, Puy, Parthenay, 
Poitiers, Albi, Airvault, and many other places. 

One Brangwyn water-colour — "Cannon Street Railway Station and 
Bridge," very similar to the etching, and a sober, reticent, and 
sterling work — has a fawn and brown hue that recalls at once to 
memory a very versatile Englishman who, like Brangwyn, was dis- 
covered first by the French, and, like Brangwyn, passed from land- 
scape to architecture and from coast scenes to history, failing not 
often. Though R. P. Bonington died at the age of twenty-seven, 
in 1828, he left his mark on Delacroix, and his name in durable oils 
and water-colours. In such swift easy work as " L'Institut, Paris," 
he heralds Brangwyn's Cannon Street, though he never gets in 
water-colour a rich depth akin to that which drew French artists to 
his oil-paint. It was Bonington, more than Turner, whom James 
Holland loved in boyhood, and an exhibition of Venetian work by 
Holland, Bonington, and Brangwyn would be of great value to those 
who like to see how birds of a feather fly when they are seen in 
company, with the aura and spell of different methods and times all 
around the quarter-cousinship of their good gifts. As a painter of 
sunned light and colour under hot skies, James Holland, like J. F. 
Lewis, helped to prepare a public for Brangwyn. No disciple of 
Turner, not Alfred Hunt, for example, nor Brabazon's " late 
Turners," had a vogue even a sixth part as wide as Lewis's and 
Holland's ; and let us note also that Ford Madox Brown's water- 
colour, as in " Elijah Restoring the Widow's Son," breaking away 
from English reserve and sunlight, was another pathfinder into 
that ardent and intrepid Easternism from which Brangwyn has won 
many large-hearted gains and some big victories. 
There are writers who think that originality is to some extent 
harmed when it is looked at side by side with its rambling pedigree, 
yet interpretation is impossible without help from parallels, analogies, 


w ". o 

z < « 

P- — r-i 

5 1" ri 

- S fc 

■■ . ^ 

3 z z 

~ < 

> ii. 

2 ^ z 

2: 2 2 

y D H 

r; u u 

- < K 

q: S 2 

o ■* o 

i " u 

. '•^ K 

< ^ X 


and other aids that give useful hints. If, for example, you take 
Turner from gray boyhood to his versatile second youth, you must 
needs feel and see that his art, at one point or another, has affinity 
with men so far apart as Loutherbourg and Titian, Gainsborough 
and William Daniell, Claude and Cotman, Van der Capella and 
Wilson, Girtin, George Barret, and several others. 
So let me gather from Brangwyn's moods just a few more hints that 
recall his predecessors, while bringing us closer to his holidays in 
water-colour, which, like other sketches and jottings, cannot well be 
approached by detailing analysis. In past days water-colour had a 
varied influence, translucent and enriching, upon English oil-pictures, 
suggesting to Gainsborough his use of thin, fluid, melodious paint ; 
causing Turner, in his late and lyrical oils, to aim at effects which 
he achieved completely in water-colour lyrics; and causing Holland 
and Dewint to transpose some of its qualities into their finest oils. 
So, too, in Brangwyn's case, if you study his Pont St. Benezet over 
the Rhone at Avignon, a masterpiece, an epic, you will see that 
beautiful glowing oil-paint, full of depth, and with a vigour that 
seems to radiate, has a luminosity akin to the gleam of Whatman 
paper under a great colourist's water-paint. Gautier said : " Drawing ? 
It is melody; and painting.? It is harmony." There's harmony as 
well as melody in fine water-colour. 

Again, among Brangwyn's aquarelles there are some drawings in 
that monochrome wash which several big men of the past employed 
frequently, like Turner, David Cox and, less often, Dewint. Here, 
for example, is the old bridge at Kreuznach in Prussia, on the river 
Nahe, with quaint and tall timber houses built out on corbels from 
low and wide piers. Here the monochrome is grayish, while it is 
amber-brown in a most virile and expressive drawing of the huge 
defensive bridge at Cordova, originally a Roman bridge, but re- 
modelled by Moors of the ninth century. At one end this bridge is 
guarded by the multi-towered Calahorra ; and the city entrance has 
a worn classic gateway and an elevated statue of Saint Raphael, 
patron saint of Cordova. Another good monochrome is a prepara- 
tion for Brangwyn's etching of the Pont Neuf at Paris. One point 
more : it appears to me that, with an exception here and there, his 
use of water-colour has much in common with Constable's, in that 
its function is rapid, vibrant statement, and not such built up effects 
of sunlight and shadow as Clausen has gathered into mosaics 
composed with deft elaboration. In many oils Constable grows 


heavy ; he remains free and brisk and hght in his rare water- 

Brangwyn's wash gets easier, swifter, freer, adding song after song 
to its accented sweep ; three or four hours enable it to flow over a 
large sketch, leaving there a decoration as well as a travel study. 
It is most entertaining to study such contrasts as "The Valley of 
the Lot" and the "Exodus from Messina" and "The Interior of 
Notre Dame at Eu," setting them side by side with an earlier method, 
also expressive, where chalk drawings, meditated as carefully as his 
cartoons are, receive from water-colour the gleam and glow of a 
sunny climate. Sir T. L. Devitt has a typical work in this line; 
it is named "The Orange Market," and belongs to the year 1901. 
Its quietude is at once so rich, so ample and so ornamental that, 
when a reproduction of it is viewed side by side with water-colours 
by many other living men, reproduced in facsimile, "it puts them to 
sleep," as old boxers used to say. 



[astels have never taken their 
iiroper high rank in Society. At 
irst, and for a long time, they 
vvere kept down by the jealousy 
^of oil-painters ; and then they 
became pets in boudoirs, drawing-rooms, and a few dusty, enjoyable 
studies where collectors defied their womenfolk and spring cleaning. 
Never did they rise into the company of oil-pictures, either in homes 
or at public shows. Because they were liked as very nice, pretty, clean 
things — "not messy, you know, hke oil-paints" — pastels achieved 
farne as a boon to any girl who wanted to be a Rosalba Carriera without 
spoiling her frocks, or staining her hands, or shocking papa and 
mamma with the drying smell of oil pigments. 

Among the Academicians of Reynolds's brave days, there were two 
pastellists, both good, and neither took his place as an equal in art 
among those oil-painters who failed to prove themselves better men. 
Good Francis Cotes graduated into oils from pastels, taking with him his 
pastel colour; some of his portraits in oils have been given to more 
marketable men, while others have passed from obscurity into rising 
prices. Cotes was not so plucky as John Russell, who, living be- 
tween 1744 and 1806, worked on and on in pastels, and became in 
this medium our English Raeburn, English through and through, 
as candid as Fielding, humorous, and either rubicund with good 
wine or rosy with health well aired by our English woods and 
fields and gardens. 

How many persons of to-day care a peppercorn for Russell and his 
free, fresh, and glad pastels .? He loved colour as Etty loved it, and 
put hot blood under the skin, while forgetting at times to give 
enough body to flesh. And another thing of interest is the fact that 
George III and the Prince of Wales honoured Russell as their 
" painter in crayons." Painter in crayons ! Here is a phrase that I 
like. It includes coloured chalk as well as pastel, and supplies us 
with a generic term. Pastels are nothing more than crayons made 
of a paste composed of powder pigment ground with gum water and 
then dried into sticks ; and whether we use crayons in dumpy and 
powdery sticks or bound up between wood into firmer pencils, we 
work in pastel crayons, and a generic term is always welcome, above 


all when, like a wise religion, it unites the separated charities of many 
rival sects and doctrines. 

To my mind, for example, Brangwyn's crayon study for The 
Crucifixion is among the great deeds which should convince us that 
pastel belongs essentially — not to the art of drawing, but to the arts 
of colour and painting. Reticent as it is in hue and tone, it has 
qualities — original freedom and power, with amplitude and rapt 
imagination — which we expect to find in a virile master's inspired 
sketch with paint ; and any oil-painter who tried to copy its appeal 
would find that he had undertaken a hard task indeed. 
Or let me choose another example from Brangwyn's versatile pastels. 
Here are two British workmen whose job in life is to feed masons 
with bricks, and who lean on their hods to take breath after 
some up-and-down exercise upon a high ladder. They are frank 
and typical, and also old enough to be bricklayers, not hodmen; but 
there's not much brain to help them, and ambition is frozen up in 
a habit. To what do we owe this excellent study of character ? 
To the dumpy sticks of powdery pastel, or harder crayon en- 
circled by wood, or pieces of coloured chalk as naked and about 
as hard as conte crayons are ? It matters not in the least, for the 
effect is one of a dry pigment without sheen or glossiness applied as 
decorative colour to a grained paper. Such pigments are members 
of the same family, whether a red crayon named sanguine or a 
fragile stick called pastel ; so why should they be treated as members 
of different and rival families .? To my mind, anyhow, the title 
given to John Russell by George III, founder of our Royal Academy, 
has a catholicity that frees art from unneeded subdivisions. 
But the trouble is that customs have as many lives as cats enjoy in a 
stock proverb. Crayons, pastels, tinted chalks, are not allowed to 
live together in one art as paintings in crayons ; they are looked 
upon as drawings, and so are water-colours. To hang either among 
the oils at a public gallery might startle conventionalists into fits 
almost. Life being a sort of gnome story in a perpetual fix, its 
Cinderellas don't turn the tables entirely on jealous and splendid 
sisters, who are usually so astute that free trade in their markets finds 
a defence of tariffs. Who knows why oil-paintings should fetch 
higher prices than pastels and water-colours of equal merit .? None 
knows : but they do, though oil-paintings are often more difficult to 
live with as they need often a clear studio light. 
But, after all, pastels have gone up in the world, though they have 



not reached what used to be called 
"the upper crust" of elite custom 
and fashion. In 1898 they begot 
their own society, and in London 
too, which often acts as a bold 
rearguard to delay art's new colon- 
ists. During the early eighties 
pastels were honoured by Belgians 
at " L'Essor " and " Le Cercle 
des Vingt." Meunier used them 
masterfully on occasions ; and in 
1900, at our Pastel Society, 
Brangwyn made a hit with a 
Meunieresque bit called "The Meal," a record of Black Country 
life, and contrasting strongly with a pastel named " The Needle," 
shown the same year at the New Gallery. 

Three years later F. B. did in pastel a set of Thames impressions for 
the Studio Magazine, and it was hoped that the series would run on 
and on ; but so much work of more urgency pressed upon Brang- 
wyn that he was obliged to break off. One day he said in a fine 
image : " So many things goad at me, claiming my time, that, upon 
my word, I feel as a baited bull must feel in a Spanish arena, when 
he doesn't know which tormentor he should attack first." 
If Brangwyn be ever able to show in pastel all his fondness for the 
fatigued old Thames between London and the Sea, he will produce 
an epitome of his Western art, with boats, barges, great ships, ware- 
houses, workmen of many sorts, and striking architecture, with 
patches of venerableness, which is all we have of a real old quarter 
in our city, whose multitudinous haphazard lost so much charm and 
age not only in the Great Fire of Wren's time, but also among those 
building adventures by Act of Parliament which Beaconsfield ridi- 
culed in Tancred* 

* " It is Parliament to -whom we are indebted for our Gloucester Places, and Harley 
Streets, and Wimpole Streets, and all those flat, dull, spiritless streets, resembling each 
other like a large family of plain children, with Portland Place and Portman Square for 
their respectable parents. The influence of our Parliamentary Government upon the 
fine arts is a subject worth pursuing. The power that produced Baker Street as a 
model for street architecture in its celebrated Building Act, is the power that prevented 
Whitehall from being completed, and which sold to foreigners all the pictures which 
the King of England had collected to civilize his people. In our own days we have 
witnessed the rapid creation of a new metropolitan quarter, built solely for the 
aristocracy by an aristocrat. The Belgrave district is as monotonous as Mary-le-bone ; 

2 K 249 

Though industrialism at a great speed eats up what is venerable, a 
good many nooks and corners neighbouring our beloved river are to 
this day the best parts of London; and hence they are the parts 
which Brangwyn loves best. A daily walk to the Thames at 
Hammersmith refreshed him during many a year ; and he may yet 
do in pastel for the industrialized Thames what Turner did in water- 
colour for the romantic rivers of France, and what William Daniell 
did in aquatint during his "Voyage Round Great Britain." His 
pastel of London Bridge, with boys bathing and many barges dove- 
tailed into a picturesque platform below two of Rennie's round 
arches, is among the happiest of Brangwyn's many gleanings from 
the Thames. 

About Brangwyn's frequent use of pastels in his prefatory studies for 
mural paintings, and for cartoons, I have spoken elsewhere. This 
phase of his work represents all his familiar qualities, together with 
the special charm that dry colours give on papers which are chosen 
with care — that is, on papers having a good enough "bite" to hold 
a powdery material firmly. 

He has written briefly on some of the early pastellists — La Tour, 
and Perronneau, and above all the great Chardin, whose pastel 
portrait of himself, like that of his wife, heralded that method of 
visualization which is usually attributed to Monet. Chardin broke 
up his light and shade with touches of pure colour put side by side 
with such aptness that they helped one another to suggest more sun 
and fresh air than painters had yet made real in their studies of 


Diderot says: " Masters of art alone are good judges of drawing. A 
half-connoisseur will pass without stopping before a masterpiece of 
drawing." For this reason, probably, those writers on art who have 
never passed through the schools where practical effort often fails, and 
where stern teachers give daily advice, have been cold towards the 
many and various forms of good drawing which have come from 
differing endowments. Many a time very simple matters have been 

and is so contrived as to be at the same time insipid and tawdry. Where London 
becomes more interesting is Charing Cross ... its river ways are a peculiar feature 
and rich with associations. . . . The Inns of Court, and the quarters in the vicinity of 
the port, Thames Street, Tower Hill, Billingsgate, Wapping, Rotherhithe, are the 
best parts of London ; they are full of character ; the buildings bear a nearer relation 
to what the people are doing than in the polished quarters." 


forgotten. For example, a man of genius, when he tries to overrule 
his inborn bent, sets affectation to defeat him; every phase of his 
changing work should arise from inward and unforced impulse and 
necessity, like Legros' gradual transition from rugged vehemence to 
the bewitching tenderness of many gold-point drawings; and thus 
genuine differences between men of genius, which are revealed always 
most nakedly in sketches and jottings and studies, whether coloured 
or monochrome, are things to be received as we accept from Nature 
the distinctive marks of species, genera and breeds. 
"Le dessin c'est La Probite de L'Art," said Ingres; and so it is 
when it represents as fully as possible what every true artist has 
natural power to express through the periods of his unaffected work; 
but how mad it would be to go to Ingres for the qualities of Rubens, 
or to ask Brangwyn for drawing like that with which Ingres informed 
his Monsieur Bertin and his Madame de Senones, or his Venus 
Anadyomene, or those incomparable pencil portraits, as manly as 
they are delicate and exquisite, where for all time the society of an 
age lies within a magic of wonderful pencil strokes ! Brangwyn 
takes delight in Ingres as Ingres, like Degas, who treasured for years 
the great pencil portraits of Monsieur and Madame Leblanc, saying 
to a trustee of our National Gallery, in the presence of Arsene 
Alexandre: "Et sachez bien. Monsieur, que ces deux portraits ne 
passeront jamais le detroit."* 

Brangwyn loves all good drawings, no matter how much at odds 
they may be with his own imperious bent ; and since this large 
catholicity comes from within his versatility, none can guess what 
work it may do on its own accord, for its own gratification, during 
the next decade or so. Thus far two inborn joys have ruled over his 
best drawing, his original design. One of them is action, action 
accompanied by adventure and unusual power, while the other is the 
gift that makes him an ample colourist-painter who is fascinated by 
decorative weight, mass, synthesis, and expressiveness. No matter 
what his medium may be, whether etching or wood engraving, 
pastel or water-colour, oil-paint or ink lines, stained glass or designs 
for household furniture, he is always a man of action, and a genuine 
painter who is among the colourists of art.j^ 

* " And mark well, Sir, these two portraits shall never cross the Channel." 
f In the earlier catalogue of his etched work, compiled by Mr. Newbolt, you will find 
good large reproductions of the drawings from which many etchings were made; 
and you will note in the drawings the painterly qualities, above all in " The Butcher's 


One of his near affinities, Eugene Delacroix, forgot pretty often that 
genius, like every other thing that lives and grows, gains what is 
best from within itself, spontaneously, whatever favosring influences 
aid it from outside. Again and again Delacroix spoke in the voice 
of Ingres,* failing to see that drawing is the scripthand of forms, 
and that every true artist has such a scripthand of his own, by means 
of which he gives expression both to himself as a man apart from 
ordinary men, and to those aspects of Nature which awaken his most 
frequent and most seductive emotions. With infinite patience, after 
choosing a motif as naturally as a bird chooses its own food, Dela- 
croix toiled at preparatory drawings and studies, often dry and tight, 
only to learn from his genius, as soon as he began to paint, that 
brushes and pigments were his birthright instruments, and that 
abundant improvisation was his native strong point. He said that 
his imagination, without which he could not live, would wear him 
to nothing ; and yet, by running counter to his imagination, he 
increased his inward fever, to which he must have owed his " tete 
bilieuse de lion malade." 

And these considerations conduct us into the most useful and neces- 
sary of all maxims in art : always to wait with patient eagerness 
while a man of genius unfolds in his native way all that he has to 
grow out of his own good gifts. The variations in Brangwyn's 
graphic art are unexampled, in so far as living men are concerned. 
There are three or four rich fields which he has not explored ; as, 
for example, the field of portraiture,^^ and the field of elusive and 

Shop," " Building the Victoria and Albert Museum," " Brickmakers," " Bridge- 
builders," "The 'Caledonia,'" "Haymaking," "The Sandshoot," " A Coal Mine after an 
Explosion," and " Breaking up The ' Hannibal.'" All invite careful study; and those 
in pure line, like the "Old Houses at Ghent" and "Old Women of Bruges," a very 
earnest study, come from a painter and colourist. It is almost impossible ever to say 
of Brangwyn that his drawing lacks colour and a painterly sweep. Almost impossible ; 
as a crayon drawing for his great etching "The Bridge of Sighs" — a drawing repro- 
duced in The Studio, Feb., 1911 — is neat and tight, a mere skeleton of the deep, 
rich and ample etching. 

* Leonce Benedite says, for instance : " A-t-on assez plaisante, dans le camp des 
coloristes, cette ecole du 'fil de fer'qui cernait les corps d'un trait inexorable. Et, 
pourtant, nous voyons le grand chef romantique s'ecrier a diverses reprises dans son 
journal et aux dates de la lutte la plus violente : ' In premiere et la plus itnportante chose en 
peinture, ce sont les contours.^ Apres Gericault, il ne pense qu'aux ^contours, fermes et bien 
OSes, et il ajoute quelque part (1824): . . . 'y songer continuellement et comtnericer toujours 
par la.'" — L'Art au XIX' siecle, page 6^. 

\ There's a sympathetic etched portrait in profile, half-length, of Mr. Frank Newbolt, 
in barrister's gown and wig; but Brangwyn tired of it, so he spoilt the plate, making it 
into a dyspeptic and jaded legal crank in the act of trying to look too judicial. 


classical balance and delicacy, and that field of enchanted sylvan 
loveliness which Cotman, in many a monochrome drawing, unites to 
manly design. But even these fields cannot be closed to Brangwyn, 
since the masters of each put a spell upon his catholicity. Of Cot- 
man he said to me : " I could weep when I think of what this big 
sublime man suffered from cruel poverty. Turner rescued him, we 
know, and his last eight years of life as drawing master to King's 
College School were free from a good many bitter humiliations, 
thanks to Turner. Still, England went wrong over Cotman — even 
vilely wrong." 

But, whatever Brangwyn may do during the next decade or so, 
perhaps evolving into methods which he has not yet entered, the 
best work already done, and done with full zest and zeal, is enough 
for a long life beyond the present one. What could be more versa- 
tile than the difference between his "Ironworkers" and "The Cruci- 
fixion," or between his "Mater Dolorosa Belgica" and "The Butcher's 
Shop"? He descends with ease from tremendous tragedy into 
comedy, as in "The Mountebank," and also in a lithograph that 
appeals greatly to Henri Marcel, who says of it: "The print where 
Brangwyn has aligned ten types of Buccaneers, with their ridiculous 
accoutrements and their whimsical awkwardness, is most graphically 
comic." And then we pass on to a drawing so noble, so charmed 
with divination, imaginative fervour, as the serene study for The 
Nativity, where, without effort, the rusticity that environed the birth 
of Jesus assumes a new fascination. I wish Legros had seen this 
drawing. How enraptured he would have been with those adoring 
old men, and with the whole setting and its mysterious charm and 
atmosphere! I think of Rembrandt's "Adoration of the Shepherds," 
and of Jacopo Bassano's "The Angel of Our Lord announcing to 
the Shepherds the Birth of Jesus"; think of both as apposite, and 
yet feel and know that Brangwyn is himself. Note, too, the sym- 
bolism in that quaint, uneasy old staircase — a presage of the difficult 
rise of Christianity from an obscure lot among humble poor folk 
to the world of competitive races and nations. 



t is true to say of Frank Brangwyn 
that no other artist of our time has 
done more in so many ways and 
with so many differing motifs, 
methods, and materials. Yet his 
profuse handiwork, his total output as a versatile master, is not mis- 
cellaneous. Here and there its abounding life and growth are un- 
pruned, but its multiform appeal hangs together ; the same decorative 
purpose runs through it, and the invariable tokens of our artist's 
presence — "Frank Brangwyn, his marks" — are evident everywhere. 
And let us remember also that branching is a natural element of 
harmony when growth and development are natural, unforced, and 
therefore spontaneous. 

To find a modern parallel to this versatility we must recall to mind 
the works of Alphonse Legros, as we have seen in an early chapter ; 
and to find another we must go to the most affluent writer of manly 
romance, the greater Dumas, whose colonizing genius won from 
history a vast Empire, and united it to the realms of enchanted 
books. Our modern Alexander went in search of many risks, of 
course : he might have become a miscellany : but his unrivalled high 
spirits never forsook him, and in a thousand volumes he achieved 
his conquests, without defeating his unity and his staying power, 
though he employed little Maquet and others.* 
Sometimes Dumas is variously good, at other times he is variously 
better, and every now and then he is variously at his best ; and this 
verdict in brief applies also to abounding Brangwyn. These big, 
bold men have turgid hours and days, of course, when reaction settles 
into lees and dregs; but is there anything bad in these sediments? 
I believe not, as thought declines to use the word "bad" when it 
notes the waste thrown off by agencies of abundance. Rubbish in 
good and great production, as in Sir Walter Scott's teeming friend- 
ship, is like mildew in neglected parts of a fine old house : quite 
natural, but misplaced, and easy to be cleared away by time and 
spring cleaning. 

* One day some mistake or other was pointed out to him. " Oh ! This fault is little 
Maquet's," he answered, "and next time we meet I'll punch his head for it." When 
Maquet attempted to score off his own bat, he made a duck. 

In 1 910 I was conventional towards versatility, fearing that it 
might decline into volatile haphazard, or that it might make far too 
many calls on Brangwyn's mind and health, like tyrannous interrup- 
tions from an importunate telephone. I forgot that change of work, 
not overdone, is refreshing ; it prevents too much brooding over one 
thing; and how can artists do better than choose hobbies within the 
united states of art ? After the overstrain of huge, opulent mural 
paintings, it has relieved Brangwyn to explore lithography or etching, 
or another hobby in which art and life can be viewed as ideal business 
partners, life providing the capital from age to age, while art has 
created many profits which have outlived Rome, Greece, Egypt, 
Assyria, and other perishable glories. 

But the world never looks at versatility from this rational standpoint. 
She wants a man to do the same thing over and over again. Our own 
age is reputed to be pre-eminent as an age of specialists; and all 
human effort, we are often told, should get nearer and nearer to the 
unmellow accuracy that perfected machines multiply. Yes, but the 
stepmotherly old world is a humbug. How often does she speak 
the truth accurately like that modernized bank clerk named the 
calculating machine .? There's no reason to believe that specialism 
is more valued to-day by ordinary persons than it was in past ages. 
Men of one job apiece have ever been among the world's favourite 
conventions : except in politics, which have been fields of mis- 
adventure for a great many Jacks of all ambitions who have earned 
by versatile bungling both titles and tragedies. 

What the world fears, and ever has feared — yes, in the arts as in 
political strife — is versatile greatness, which has never seemed in 
keeping with the mediocrity of mankind, as versatile blundering has 
been. Shall we take two examples ? First, then, the spirited and 
wise novelist in Benjamin Disraeli caused the world to be suspicious 
about the abler statesman in the same genius; next, Leonardo da Vinci 
has not yet been pardoned by the mundane. " Why was Leonardo 
too versatile ? Why didn't he stick to one thing ?" The mundane 
are troubled by these questions, as if Leonardo had not answered them 
in his labours. What else could he do with the busy populace 
of ideas that kept his wondrous brain incessantly inventive and 
prophetic .? 

To be versatile, then, is to give hostages to the stepmotherly old 
world. Many a time it has been said that Brangwyn grows too 
many different crops in a year on the same field, or that he has 

too many strings to his bow. Yet the answer to this cant ought to 
be plain for all folk to see. In fields of art, as in other fertile fields, 
rotation of crops has been a useful thing ; most of the old Masters 
were versatile ; and as for the archery figure of speech, every string 
has its own bow, and several bows and strings have a necessary rest 
when one bow and its string are active and enterprising. Enough 
to say that off and on too many arrows have been shot. 
But this fact is opposed by another. Our British distrust of useful 
versatility is the main cause of the imperfect sympathy which 
Brangwyn has received from his countrymen. A general liking for 
versatile good work cannot come from a nation that declined to 
face her sinister housing problems until she had spent many thousand 
millions of pounds in a long-threatened war, for which she made no 
pre-war preparations. 

It is easy to prove that Brangwyn, among his own countrymen, is 
not yet appreciated as he ought to be. Though he has a fine follow- 
ing, his name is not a household word, as were the names of several 
Victorians, and notably those of Frith, Millais, and Edwin Landseer. 
As a famous dramatist said to a friend of mine: "Brangwyn is 
scarcely known to the vast multitude that a playwright must keep 
around his writing-table. A thousand pities ! It would stir the 
people up if they knew his manliness and loved his colour." And 
what an irony it is that the one artist we have who is as fond of our 
industrial handworkers as Cottet and Simon are of French fishermen 
and peasants, should be outside the people's education ! 
A contributory cause of this limited fame is worth noting. The 
British people like their heroes to be tyrannously evident, either 
advertised all the year round by newspapers, or decorated with 
honours and abundant ribbons. A man is certain to be "discovered" 
when he is made a lord, however obscure he may have been as a 
civilian. The more we prattle as a nation about the ideal democrat 
named Equality, the more we value those external symbols of success 
which draw attention to Nature's real autocrat, Inequality. But 
title-hunting is a sport unattractive to shy men, and Brangwyn made 
no effort even to enter the Royal Academy as an Associate. Four- 
teen years have gone by since he became A.R.A., and yet he is still 
detained in the same rank by wayward voters at elections. True, 
he has sent only a few pictures to Academy Exhibitions ; but let us 
remember that his decorative paintings, which have occupied most 
of his time, have had their proper places of exhibition in public 



a H 

buildings where they are alHes of architecture. Easel painters alone 
can take always for their guide that devotion to the R.A. shows 
which Turner wished to see in all Associates and Academicians. 
In 1916 a Frenchman said to me : "Though the title 'Sir' is very 
common, I find that your original artist, Frank Brangwyn, is just a 
simple Mister like myself, though he would confer honour" on a 
higher title than 'Sir.' I take this matter to heart. You wish to 
know why .? Well, I've loved Brangwyn's work from the days ot 
' The Funeral at Sea ' and ' The Buccaneers,' and I'm one of the 
Frenchmen who believe it was Brangwyn, withlilWother English 
artists, who began the Entente Cordiale, many a yeaMlPWllvJihce of 
King Edward and his statesmen. They were at home in our exhi- 
bitions, they loved French art and the French people, and often they 
received in France a fervent encouragement denied by their own 
country. Has Brangwyn lost touch with this fact .? No. Believe 
me, the set of etchings that he gave to the French people was 
valued very much as a most gracious offering of sympathy in this 
time of war. The French do not wish to be praised because they 
fight well for their native land; but true sympathy is sweet to them, 
particularly when it comes, not in words, but in art from a great 
artist. How glad I should be if Brangwyn were French, not 
British ! And as these are my feelings towards him, how can I help 
being — shall I say surprised.? or is it pained.? — by the imperfect 
fame that he has won here in London .? I call it a fame in half- 
tone, with a spot of sunlight here 
and there. Yes, and the half-tone 
is surrounded by black shadow. 
Why .? Some Englishmen tell me ! 
What do they tell me? Bah! 
They say that Brangwyn is too 
versatile, because those who do 
much in many ways cannot do 
enough in one way to beat down 
dislike from settled foes and to 
attract neutral support from artists' 
in other lines. If so, then art is 
war, modern war, and versatility 
in art is to be feared as the Boche 
of artistic enterprise and achieve- 
ment. A comic idea ! Was the 


2 L 


versatile Michelangelo a Prussian of his versatile pefiod ? And if 
Brangwyn is too versatile for the versatility that won your British 
Empire, how much permanent support can the versatile movements 
in art and letters receive in your country?" 

An important question, indeed ! To let versatility run wild in 
political follies, while we remain frost-bound towards the generous 
adventures that the fine arts gain from versatile genius, cannot be a 
custom fit to keep society and art at all safe and progressive. Yet 
there is no need to be astonished. Democracy at present is a boiling 
pot of party strife attended by millions of apprentice cooks, and 
who can divine what the cooks and their pot are going to concoct 
for our nation's future.? 

The fine arts have nothing wrong to do with political strife, thank 
goodness; their function is one of amelioration ; whereas the appren- 
tice cooks are so eager to be cocksure before they know that they 
look upon their boiling pot as far and away more important than 
the fit and thorough work named Art. Not yet have they studied 
even recent history. Already Turner and Cotman are more im- 
portant by tar than the party strife of their period ; and already 
Dickens, Thackeray, Tennyson, Darwin are more important by far 
than Gladstone, Liverpool, Canning, Melbourne, and Salisbury. 
However humble a true artist may seem to his generation, he may 
outlive a type of society many thousands of years, like prehistoric 
craftsmen. Though we cannot see, yet we can feel, the Hundred 
Portals of the Pharaohs. Always I think of the world's past drama 
as an ilhmitable mortuary built by changeful politics, through which 
the arts run as beautiful shining corridors open and free to the solace- 
ment of millionfold ordinary man. 

Yet the stepmotherly old world never wearies of saying to each 
new generation: "Why do you play the fool with my customs and 
conventions ? I live in them, and what right has your inexperience 
to insult me by wishing to alter themf You get yourself into scrapes 
by hunting the horizon, and poison life with your vanity. Take 
care ! Any fool can enslave himself to the present day ; the wise 
alone are free, for they alone know that there never has been a great 
movement which has not drawn its inspiration from bygone times. 
Don't talk to me, then, about using your minds without too much 
awe of authority. Cant ! Cant and conceit!" 

Of course, new crops grow for ever on old fields, and repetition is an 
eternal law in all natural production and reproduction ; yet it is 

equally true that the main function of the human brain is — not 
automatic action as in other vital organs, but — creative enterprise, 
which carries a just desire to advance into a greater natural law than 
repetition — the infinite variation out of which new species emerged 
and newness comes continuously. What is evolution but a vast 
series of variated resurrections, by which base forms of life have been 
changed into better forms ? 

Yet ordinary human nature has ever been a foe to its own welfare. 
Only a person here and there has trusted his mind, refusing to repeat 
stale old acts requiring no more thought than he has given to a sneeze. 
Most men have shut themselves up in customs and conventions — to 
live there as hermits. And note how dreadful, how unimaginably 
horrible the results have often been. When Pasteur and Lister 
broke loose from arid medical conventions and began to make 
experiments with antiseptics mankind may have been a million years 
old. Who can imagine how many persons, reckoned in millions 
ot millions, were slain by the toxins of microbes between the Lister- 
Pasteur awakening and man's advent from apelike ancestry ? And 
other recent boons to the common human lot have mocked all the 
dead generations — that poor dust, which in the ages past was man- 
kind interned by customs and conventions. Yet the world distrusts 
versatility in a Brangwyn or in some other genius ! And the 
Modernists who love it in their own creeds or sects, however much 
they may hate it in outsiders, brag about progression as if the 
creeping visitor named Progress needed trumpets and banners ! 
From age to age Progress has been a charity of tears so long has she 
been kept away from her duties. 

For in every one of us there are two selves at least : the outer self, 
or husk-self, of convention, and the inner self that becomes active 
when we pass from routine into a passion. Sometimes these agencies 
act together as friends and allies, uniting and exalting men and 
nations during a time of peril ; and then we learn that the inferior 
self needs but enough ardour from the better self to be nobly 
enterprising. As for the better self alone, unaided by some 
custom and some convention, it is apt to get itself into scrapes, 
its character being childlike, wayward, inconsequent. Discipline and 
roughened experience do it good : and so the useful and necessary thing 
is to discover the means by which it can be ordered and not subdued. 
The inner self is versatile in most children, whose original questions, 
fancies, criticisms, often do iustice to the big size of their brains. 


Always in children there is infinite variation until too much custom 
and too much convention enslave them ; then they dwindle from 
originality towards the dead-level on which their elders deliver 
lessons and punishments. If only we elders used with pious care the 
great treasure of versatility with which Providence has endowed 
childhood! If only we remembered that it is ruined by too much 
routine and spoilt by too little ! I have seen truly wonderful brush- 
work done by children in our board schools, often very small 
.children, but this infantile genius rarely outlives the early teens. In 
a few years gifted youngsters are boy-men and girl-women, eager to 
be " free " and to forget what they have been taught, eager also 
to prove that they are British by being half-hearted towards work 
and whole-hearted towards wages. 

Unless we wish to augment the tyranny of custom and convention, 
in order to make the chances of truth and right more unfavourable, 
we must learn as a nation to pass from versatile muddles into versatile 
merits. Why should any sane mind think that a new baby art crying 
outside the fortress of convention is an abortion to be mocked ? 
Bacon says on this point: "As the births of living creatures at first 
are ill shapen, so are all innovations, which are the births of time." 
So a civilized people should be as a nurse to the versatile ; and this 
no people can be unless they divide customs and conventions into 
two divisions: into those which are permanent, like the height and 
breadth of tables and chairs, and those which are routines to baulk 
thought and experiment. 

Would it be useful, then, to have popular exercises in the art of 
innovating ? Sports, games, courts, trades, professions, without help 
from Parliament, could set a good example by changing periodically 
their rules or their customs, for the purpose of showing that the large 
human brain is alive — not in amusements only, but also in dead- 
earnest pomps and etiquettes. I wish, too, that versatility in truth- 
telling could be enticed into politics by granting titles to those 
parties that dared to break away from cant and make-believe, as 
innovations of all useful sorts would have a much better chance 
if our political life could be lifted into candour. Have the Sir Con- 
servatives told more truths than the Lord Radicals, or have the Lord 
Radicals risen in honour above the Sir Conservatives .? The highest 
title for political truth-speaking might well be Prince ; but any 
political campaign managed by craft, and not by candour, would 
reduce to the ranks an unprincipled strategist. 



Anyone who thinks thus of the arts — thinks of them socially — 
finds always that they lead him — not into isles of dreams, not into 
unsubstantial fairy places, nor into sects where mutual admirations 
dwell like echoes in a cave, but — into the vast human drama. All the 
social influences which have played around Brangwyn, harming him 
sometimes, and often aiding him, have stored up in his genius so 
much of our own age that his life and work, as I have said before, 
are allied with both East and West in our Empire. We go to them, 
not for the scholar's attitude towards our lot, but for the virility and 
the versatility that achieve great and enduring things in the midst 
of rugged hindrances and many perils. And Brangwyn has not 
stopped growing; or, rather, his genius goes on adapting itself to 
life in the protean give and take that make art and life changefully 

As a rule development in middle age is from exploring colonization 
either towards or into concentration. Ideas come as single guests, 
they do not arrive in parties; and the rarer they are in their un- 
invited friendliness, the more eager their welcomer is to grow all 
that he can get from their appeals to his productivity. So he puts 
into a single idea as much maturing purpose, as much penetration 
and breadth of vision, as he used to divide among several when he 
enjoyed the springtime of his traffic with ideas. If Brangwyn is 
not an exception to this usual change in middle age, his develop- 
ment during the next few years will be very remarkable. His 
self-criticism, instead of being like an overseer on horseback ranging 
here and there on an enormous ranch, will become more like an 
English farmer who has only a good hundred acres to cultivate in the 
most thorough manner possible. It will question and cross-question 
many a thing which in the years gone by appeared to be as inevitably 
right as the gray brilliance with which Nature chastens her most 
sumptuous displays of colour. Constable was happy when he could 
stand before a six foot canvas without being harassed by the forth- 
coming cost of its frame. Brangwyn used to be quite happy when 
at work upon huge spreads of canvas, which were often almost a 
tyranny in length and breadth of surface ; and he is still somewhat 
resentful towards any motif which invites him to run a hundred 
yards, instead of a Marathon race. Does this mood belong to early 
manhood, or will it be continued through the next ten years .? 
Lucky is the artist who can review his past work when he is well 
and strong. Many a one has died too soon, like Girtin and Bastien 


Lepage ; and many a one has not seen until too late that work done 
in early manhood is but a preparation, the making of an abundant 
manner, for hale middle age to chasten into maturity. The good 
Gainsborough is a case in point. Like Brangwyn, he indulged his 
emotional alertness and his wondrous facility, and achieved effects 
which could not be analysed well in terms of technique, so much 
more varied and commanding were they than the simple and often 
sketchy handling of his paint explained at near range. Then, 
suddenly, a cancer formed behind his neck, and Gainsborough began 
at once to review all his affairs. He pondered much over his art, 
seeing a defect here and there, and wishing that in future works he 
could do greater things than those by which he would be remembered. 
Too late ! He died at sixty-one, a greater Gainsborough dying with 
him, for he had gratified his facility with so much fervour that he 
had rarely plumbed the deeps in his brave serene genius. 
Brangwvn is only fifty-one, so we expect much more from him; 
not in quantity, but in that essence of his deeper self which the 
concentration of middle age is fitted to alembicate from the ample 
and ardent qualities exercised and ripened by his past labours. In 
posters, for instance, he could illustrate a period chosen from heroic 
English History ; could illustrate it with so much vim and truth 
that the whole Empire for a long time would be grateful to him. 
In portraiture, again, there is always a wonderful field for concentra- 
tion, and Brangwyn as a portrait painter could not fail to make rich 
discoveries. Most of our portraitists are so very self-conscious, or so 
enthralled by their methods, that they often paint almost as much 
indiscreet autobiography as discreet biography. Only once in a 
way, by rare good fortune, do they solve the most difficult problem 
in their dramatizing art : how to reveal character as a subtle and 
complex agency that directs its painter, and not as a thing that 
painters can either flatter or caricature at their ease and for the in- 
dulgence of their idiosyncratic technique. 

Brangwyn understands the sovereign first principle of portrait paint- 
ing, by which portraiture is turned into a most perilous art in and of 
honour. The whole truth, when unpleasant, ought never to be put 
into a portrait unless the sitter is a professional model, because no 
sane person commissions a portrait in order to be made odious in a 
painted dossier of the worst in his character. So an artist who 
accepts money from his sitters accepts also the first principle govern- 
ing his work. Instead of being a private detective to find out evils 


in his paying models, he must be governed as a gentleman by moods 
and aspects of the true which are not unpleasant and libellous. 
Writers on art cannot speak too frankly on this point of honour 
when a portraitist forgets his position as a paid craftsman, and 
betrays his models with relentless zeal. Now and then present-day 
portraiture is so much like an inquisition that onlookers ought to be 
angry, as they would be if a painter stole his sitters' private diaries 
and then boasted about a shameless misdeed. Portraiture is not 
raided enough by men of Brangwyn's mark. We get trom it over- 
much fawning, sometimes overmuch spying, and generally too much 
technical self-assurance. Often it brings paying models very near to 
that peculiar intimacy which unites novelists to their invented 

Last of all, to interpret faithfully is to prophesy, since there is in all 
growth an order that tells what it is going to do ; and for some time 
Brangwyn has given hints of a desire to enjoy work less fatiguing 
than have been his many great adventures over very large mural 
decorations. With this desire as a motive-power, how can he keep 
away from its gratification ? It is likely to guide him, just as his 
growing distaste for the noise of London has caused him to buy in 
Sussex, at Ditchling, a retreat as pleasant as it is quiet. 
So in this book, as in igio, a confident note of expectation ends the 
last page. Yesterday's best work is but a herald of a better best, as 
no genius has reached its full meridian until it has begun to decline. 




Abbey, E. A., the late, R.A., his drawings after 

Shakespeare, 197. 
Abbey of Ter Doest, Lisseweghe, Woodcut 10 in 

Brangw}'n's Book of Belgium. See p. 231 

et seq. 
Abbey of St. Leonard, Etching No. 206, on 

zinc, 231" X 291", 150, 151. 
Abbey of Fillers, Its Ruins, Woodcut 35 in 

Brangwyn's Book of Belgium. See p. 234. 
Addy, Sidney O., 231. 
Advertisers and advertisements, their abuses, 

168, 169, 177 ; why they should be governed 

by municipalities and taxed, 178. 
Esthetic Periods : the Pre-Raphaelite, 5 ; 

Plein Air and ReaUsm, 7 ; Impressionism, 

36, 37, 40 ; Post-Impressionism, 15, 16, 23 ; 

Intimists, 7, 39 ; Cubists, 15. 
jEsthetic temperament, 51. 
After Trafalgar, 2 1 9. 
Aircraft and submarines, their future influence 

on islands, 206. 
Airvault Church, The Cloisters of. Etching No. 

220, 29!" X 27^". On zinc, 151 et seq., 153, 

Albi Bridges, Etching No. 221, I9y''^" x 24^^". 

On zinc, 114. 
Albt, The Caravan, Etching No. 169. 1910. 

On zinc, 14I" x uj". Etched out of doors, 

Alcantara, The Bridge at, near Taormina, 

Etching No. 156. 1910. On zinc, i6|" x 

13'. Etched out of doors; 125 proofs 

published. See p. 113. 
American Collector on Brangwyn's Art, I et 

An Italian Water Festival, 219. 
Ancestors, Our : are they to be regarded as 

our superiors ? 141. 
Angelico, Fra, 56. 
Antagonism of torrid sunlight against many 

solid substances, 40. 
Antwerp, Across the Scheldt, Woodcut 31 in 

Brangwyn's Belgium. 
Antwerp, Old Street, Woodcut 29 in Brangwyn's 

Belgium, 231. 
Antwerp, The Calvary of St. Paul, Woodcut 32 

in Brangwyn's Belgium, 230. 

2 M 

Antwerp : The Last Boat, Brangwyn's War 
Poster, 194. 

Apse of Duomo, Messina, Etching No. 148. 
1910. On zinc, 29^" x 231". Etched from 
a water-colour made on the spot. See p. 

Apse of St. Walburge at Fumes, Etching No. 
120. 1908. On zinc, 17" x 15". Etched 
on the spot ; 100 proofs pubhshed. See 

PP- 93, 94- 
.'\quatint and etching, 69 and footnote, 79. 
Arabs on Shore, 221. 

Arab Fruit-carriers, F. B. Lithograph, 129. 
Architecture, 75, 76, 92, 93, 94 ; see also 

Chapter X. 
Architecture, colour in, 175, 176. 
Architecture, Triangular, 23 1. 
Armed strife and Art, 72 et seq. 
Art, the word " Art," 160. 
Art's attributes, those imported by onlookers 

into works of art, 96, 97, 146. 
Art and children's education, 96, 197, 198. 
Art and Conservatism, I et seq. 
Art and Criticism, 6 et seq. ; see Introductory 

as a whole. 
Art and Industrialism, 68, 119 et seq. ; 121 et 

seq ; see also Chapters IX and X and XI. 

Art and Interpretation, 9 ; see also Chapter I. 

Art, Life, and Nature, 18, 19, 32, 33, 40, 41, 53, 

58 ; see also Chapter III ; 96 et seq. ; 119 

et seq. ; 121 et seq. ; see also Chapters IX 

and X and XI ; 240. 

Art and Popular Education, 52, 53, 96, 140 et 

seq., 149 ; see also Chapter XI. 
Art and Posters, 63. 
Art and strife, 72 et seq., 240. 
Art and Town Improvements ; see Chapter 

Art, Decorative, 51, 107, 108. 
Art, Emotion in, 16 et seq. ; see also Chapter I. 
Art, frequent preference of English people for 

feminine qualities in art, 5. 
Art, humour in etchings, 94, 132, 150. 
Art, in its Relation to Life and Nature, 32, 33, 
40, 41, 58 ; see also Chapter III ; 96 et seq. ; 
119 et seq. ; 121 et seq. ; see also Chapters 
IX and X ; 240. 


Art, interpretation versus criticism, 9 ; see 

also Chapter I ; 152. 
Art, literary appeal in, 96, 97. 
Art, masculine, feminine and neuter, 5, 37, 57. 
.Art, mural, 51, 108. 
Art, Old versus New Movements, i et seq., 

Art, Oriental Influences in Modern Schools, 
39 ; see under Easternism. 

Art, prettiness in, 150, 185. 

Art, religious art, 16, 18, 25 et seq., 33, 66. 

Art, sex and, 5, 37 and footnote, 58. 

.Art, the quality of grandeur, 104 ; often 
absent in British art and life, 105. 

Art, versatility in, 3, 50, 143. 

.Artist, what he is, 5 et seq. ; 16, 17. 

Artists, British, 5, 31, 149; scorned during 
the War, 170, 171 ; why they should help 
to revive Inns, 207 et seq. ; why they 
should be useful to Labour Halls and Sea- 
men's Clubs ; see Chapter XI\ . 

Artists, French, 7, 15, 149. 

Assisi, Etching No. 17. 1903. On zinc, 15^' x 
12". Two states. First state in 60 proofs 
has no sky ; second state in 10 proofs has a 
sky toned with dry-point. See pp. 82, 91. 

Assisi, A Beggar at. No. 15. 1903. Aquatint, 
on zinc, %\" x 10"; 30 proofs published. 
See p. 83. 

Assisi, A gate at. Etching No. 16. 1903. On 
zinc, 17" X 13". See p. 83. 

At Neuve Chapelle, Brangvi^ War Poster, 

Atmosphere, 20. 

At the city gates, 222. 

.■iudenaerde, Woodcut 18 in Brangvyryn's Book 
of Belgium. 

Auto-academic, The, or the act of copying 
one's own work, 15. 

Bacon, Francis, Baron Verulam, Viscount St. 

Albans, 1561-1626, p. 42. 
Back Street, A, in Naples, Etching No. 191. 

1912. On zinc, 9t" x 8". Etched out of 

doors. See p. 157. 
Backwardness of British self-content, 142. 
Bagpipe, Man with a. Etching No. 134. 1908. 
■, On zinc, 8" x 6". Etchedjat a Fair'in Furnes. 

Two men and a group of^childrenjlisten. 
Bagpiping, Brangwyn Lithograph, published 

in Germinal, Paris. 
Balcony in Messina, Etching No. 146. 1910. 

On copper, 4" x 5^". Etched on the spot. 


Ballisteria, A, at Incheville, Etching No. 141. 
1909. On zinc, 10" x SJ". See p. 131. 

Baptism of Christ, F. B.'s oil-painting, 67. 

Barge, The, Evening, by Legros, 68. 

Bargebuilders, Brentford, Etching No. 20. 
1904. On zinc, 13I" X33I". Two states 
Trial state in 8 impressions is a pure etching 
with a plain sky. Published state is deepened 
and aquatinted all over with a good grain. 
See p. 118. 

Bargebuilders, Hammersmith, Etching No. 28. 

1904. On copper, 3f" x 4^". Published in 
" Frank Brangw7-n and His Work to 1910," 
by Walter Shaw Sparrow. Kegan Paul and 

Barges at Bruges, Etching No. 60. 1906. On 
zinc, 15" X 14"; 100 proofs published. 

I Etched on the spot. See p. 118. 
Barges at Nieuport, Etching No. 122. 1908. 

! On copper, 7J" x 4". Etched out of doors 
near Ostend. Seep. 119. 

I Barkstrippers at Port Mellan, Cornwall, Etching 

j No. 8. 1903. On zinc, 16" ,-. 13". An oil- 
painting of this subject was exhibited in 
1888 at the R.A. See p. 82. 

I Barnard Castle, Etching No. 53. 1905. On 
zinc, 12" X I4f". Published at Vienna in 
Gesellschaft fiir vervielfiiltigende Kunst. 
Only 3 English impressions are given in the 
Fine Art Society's Catalogue. See p. 93. 
Barnard Castle Bridge, Aquatint, iSJo. 56. 

1905. On zinc, 14" x loj", 112. 
Barnard Castle Bridge, Etching No. 102. 

1907. On zinc, 22" x IJ^". Etched from a 

pencil drawing; 100 proofs published, 112. 
Barnard Castle, The Maple Tree, Etching No. 

55. 1905. On copper, 14J" x lof". Etched 

on the spot, 89. 
Barrel, Man with, Brangwyn lithograph. 
Basket-makers, The, F. B. war cartoon, 196. 
Bastien-Lepage, Jules, and Plein Air, 7 ; his 

early death, 262. 
Baths and Progress, 167. 

Baudry, his decorative paintings, 35 footnote. 
Bauer, his etchings of architecture, 149. 
Beach at Funchal, Madeira, The, water-colour, 

Beaconsfield, 21, 172, 200, 207, 249, 255. 
Bear-leaders in a Courtyard of an Inn at Cirq- 

la-Popie in France, Etching No. 177. 191 1. 

On zinc, 14 J" x 11". Etched from nature. 

See p. 94. 
Beatty, Sir David, his appeal from a poster, 

168, 189. 

Beethoven, i6. 

Beggar, A, at Assist, see under Assisi. 
Beggar, A Blind, Etching No. 3. 1900. Head 
and shoulders, on zinc, 4" y 45" ; 10 proofs 
Beggar Musician, A, Etching No. 187. 191 1. 
On zinc, 6f x gf". Etched out of doors 
in London. Characteristic and well felt. 
100 proofs published, 94. 
Beggars, Brangwyn hthograph, 198. 
5^^^ar/ /, Etching No. 54. 1905. On copper, 

si" y- 8". A sketch full of character. 
^f^^ar/ //, Etching No. 99. 1907. On copper, 
131" X 10". This frieze of four mendicants, 
with three hinted beyond them, exists in 
two proofs only. The plate was cut into 
Beggars III and Beggars IV, Etchings 100 
and loi, the former ^l" x 10", the latter 
8f" X 10". 
Belfry and Town Hall at Ghent, Woodcut 24 

in Brangwyn's Belgium, 230. 
Belfry and Cathedral at Tournay, Woodcut 47 

in Brangwyn's Belgium. 
" Belgium," Brangw^'n's, with text by Hugh 

Stokes, 191 6, 227 et seq. 
Belloc, Hilaire, 203. 
Bentham, Mill and Co., 53. 
Berghem, 50. 
Bias in art, has dangers of its own as well as 

great advantages, 137. 
Big and little plates in etching, 44-48. 
Birds in etched work, 86. 

Black Mill at Winchelsea, The, Etching No. 

135; 1908. On zinc, 26*" x 22f". A Trial 

State in Two Impressions, and the Pubhshed 

State wath a more munificent sunset. See 

pp. 101-102. 

Blacksmiths, Etching No. 94. 1907. On zinc, 

311* X 22". Done from the life without 

help from a preliminary sketch, 131. 

Blake at Santa Cruz,, F. B. marine picture, 214. 

Blake, William, Engraver, Painter, Poet, 1757- 

1827, 134. 
Blery, Eugene, Meryon's master, 78. 
Blind Basketmakers, Brangwyn VVar Cartoon, 

Avenue Press, London, W.C. 
Blind Beggar, Head of a, jg. Si. 
Board Schools and the educative value of 

posters and coloured prints, 197. 
Board of True Artists for London, 172, 173. 
Boatbuilders, Venice, Etching No. 112. 1907. 
On zinc, 25!" x 2of . A^First Trial State 
in Two Impressions, and the Pubhshed State 
in 100 proofs, 118, 119. | 

Boatmen, Some, hauling at a Rope, Etching No. 
77. 1906. On zinc, 19" x i8i". Etched 
direct from the life and|showing two stal- 
wart bargees in sabots puUing at a rope, 
Boats, Venetian, Etching No. 116. igo8. On 
zinc, gj" X 6J". A rapid note done out of 
doors ; beyond the boats, a steep bridge and 
some corner houses ; plain sky. 
Boatyard, A, at Venice, Etching No. 113. 
1907. On zinc, 27!" x igj". Companion 
piece to No. 112. A workman in foreground 
moves a bent and primitive ladder ; behind 
him are two men, one of whom drinks from 
a big pot ; behind these men is a boat 
streaked in one place by a splash of sun- 
light. Four figures look on close to the 
boat's nose ; a background of houses with 
high, cowled chimneys, and a horizontal line 
of other buildings broken by a gabled pro- 
jection. In the First Slate, issued in 30 
Impressions, the sky is plain ; it is toned in 
the Second State. 
Boissarde de Boisdenier's fine battle picture, 

72, 73- 
Bone, Muirhead, 1 27, 149. 
Bonhomme, French lithographer and painter 

of industrial subjects, 125. 
Bonington, R. P., 1801-1828, 244. 
" Book of Bridges," by Walter Shaw Sparrow, 

pictures by Brangvi^n, 191 5, 224. 
Book Illustration and Decoration, see Chapter 

Bookplate for Victor Singer, Etching No. 81. 
1906. On copper, 5^" x 6|". Out of doors 
men carry books, and another man, nude to 
his waist, bears a plate for the inscription. 
Bookplate, Etching No. 84. 1906. On copper, 
5" X 6\". Above an Itahan city a bov plays 
on cymbals ; he wears a chaplet on his 
Bookplate, Etching No. 86. 1906. On copper, 
5" X 6|". A scroll bears the inscription 
" Ex-Libris, Frank Newbolt " ; and below 
it is a Tudor ship full-rigged and patterned 
against a dark sky. In the right-hand corner 
heraldry is tokened by a shield. 
Bookplates by Brangwyn, 224 et seq. See also 

the examples reproduced in this book. 
Bookplates, the Art of Designing, Some hints 

on, 225, 226. 
Bootmakers at Montreuil, Etching No. 92. 

1907. On zinc, 2li" x 17J". See p. 130. 
Bosse, Abraham, on etching, 46. 


Bottle-washers, in a Wine-faker's Place of Busi- 
ness at Bruges, Etching No. 6i. 1906. 
On zinc, 15J" x 14". Etched from life, 

Bouillon, Chateau de, Woodcut 45 in F. B.'s 

Box, Man carrying a, Brangwyn lithograph. 

Boxes, Men unloading, Brangwyn lithograph. 

Boxes, Unpacking Orange, Brangwyn litho- 

Boy with a gourd, Brangwyn lithograph. 

Boys playing Music, Etching No. 39. 1904. 
On copper, 4" x 5yjy". Two hooded boys, 
one playing a viol and one a mandoline. 
Idea for a Christmas card. Only two 
impressions were taken. 

Brabazon, H. B., The late, Water-colour 
Painter, died near Battle in 1906, aged 84, 

23s. 244- 
Brangwyn, Frank, birthplace, 34 ; art educa- 
tion, 35, 36-38 ; two or three defects come 
from his wandering studies, 136, 137 ; his 
foes, 3 ; characteristics, 34, 40, 41, 42, 50, 
5i> S2> S3> 58, 61 et seq., 65, 68, 69, 70-72, 
109 et seq., 143, 145, 148, 183, 208, 209, 210, 
220, 256 ; artistic forerunners and affinities, 
35> 39. 47' 56, see also Chapter III ; 73, 138, 
242 et seq. ; his genius, its masculinity, 5 ; 
represents the East and the West in our 
Empire, 5 ; his religious work, 16, 27 et seq., 
33; as a draughtsman, 33, 137, 138, 148, 
157, 208, 209, 251 et seq. ; his intuition, 35, 
36 ; the female qualities in genius are 
dormant in F. B.'s work, 37 ; his knowledge 
of the sea, 37 et seq., 62, 69, 70, 117, 204 et 
seq., 217 et seq. ; his Easternism, 38, 39, 
183, 220, 221 ; his chosen limits, 41, 107 
et seq. ; opponents of his big plates, see 
Chapter II ; his attitude towards printing, 
48 et seq., see also under Printing ; painterly 
qualities in his etchings and his drawings, 
50 et seq., 79, 251 ; he represents the spirit 
of our age, 53 et seq., 58 ; parallel between 
him and Legros, see Chapter III ; his fond- 
ness for waifs and strays, 63, 68 ; not at 
ease in most of his small etchings, 80 et seq., 
82 ; his decorative quaUties, 107 et seq. ; 
industrialism, his attitude towards it, 119 
et seq., 121, 122, see Chapters VIII and IX 
and XI ; colour in his posters, 181-183 ; 
considered in relation to National Welfare, 
see Chapters XIII and XIV ; his book 
illustrations, see Chapter XV ; his water- 
colours, see Chapter XVII. 


Breaking Up H.M.S. Hannibal, Etching No. 
36. 1904. On zinc, 24J" x 19^^". From a 
drawing made at Charlton, Woolwich, 69, 

Breaking Up The Caledonia, Etching No. 78. 
1906. On zinc, 31I" >-2j^i", 69, 124. 

Breaking Up H.M.S. Duncan, Etching No. 
193. 1912. On zinc, 32^" x 2I|" ; 125 
proofs published. Etched on the spot at 
Woolwich in Castle's Yard, 41, 70, 124. 

Breaking Up The Britannia, F. B. Etching, un- 
catalogued, 70, 125. 

Brentford, Bargebuilders, see under Barge- 

Brentford Bridge, Etching No. 23. 1904. On 
zinc, i6j" X 13I-"; etched out of doors. 
Trial State of Two Impressions and the 
Published State, no, in, 112, 143. 

Brentford, The Tree, Etching No. 18. 1903. 
On zinc, 13" x 16" ; a Trial State of the 
Impressions and the PubHshed State. 

Brentford Watermill, Etching No. 21. 1904. 
Onzinc, 12" XI2"; very scarce, only 15 proofs 
pubUshed. Etched on the spot, 103, 140. 

Breughel, the eldest, 125, 139. 

Brewery, A, at Bruges, Etching No. 66. 1906. 
On zinc, l8f" x 20f" ; etched on the spot, 

Brewery, A, at Bruges, II, Etching No. 67. 
1906. On copper, 8''xl2"; 100 proofs 
published ; etched on the spot, 118. 

Brickmakers, Brangwyn lithograph, 198. 

Brickmakers, Etching No. 38. 1904. On zinc, 
22J-'' X 19I-" ; from a drawing made at 
Wormwood Scrubbs, 127. 

Bricks, Unloading, at Ghent, Etching No. 140. 
1909. On zinc, 26f" x 22|-" ; from a draw- 
ing ; a Trial State of Five Impressions and 
the Published State of 1 50 proofs. 

Bridge, Barnard Castle, Aquatint, see under 
Barnard Castle. 

Bridge, Barnard Castle, Etching, see under 
Barnard Castle. 

Bridge at Alcantara, Etching, see under 

Bridge, A, at Bruges, Etching No. 166. 1910. 
On zinc, 61" x 5f" ; etched on the spot ; 
100 proofs published, 113. 

Bridge I, London, Etching No. 5. 1901. On 
copper, 1 1 J" X lij"; a Trial State of Six 
Proofs in outline, and a Second State of 
One Proof only ; then the copper was cut 
and a part of it became Etching No. 50, 
Fishmongers' Hall, 83, 104, 105. 

Bridge II, London, Etching No. 7. 1903. On 
copper, 21^" X l6|" ; a Trial State in out- 
line, One Impression ; a Second State in 
Five Impressions ; a Third State in 35 
proofs, and the Published State, 106, 107. 

Bridge III, London, Etching No. 27. 1904. 
On copper, 21" >; 16" ; taken from a wharf 
below, 107. 

Bridge, London, On, Etching No. 22. 1904. 
On copper, 5" x 4" ; a lively sketch done 
out of doors, looking from the bridge 
towards the tower of St. Magnus and Fish- 
mongers' Hall. Good paintwork in the sky. 

Bridge, Old Kew, Etching No. 51. 1904. On 
zinc, I5|-" X 13" ; etched on the spot. 

Bridge over the Tarn, Etching No. 180. 191 1. 
On zinc, 6\" x jj" ; etched on the spot. 

Bridge at Cahors, Etching No. 1 89. J 191 1. Le 
Pont Valentre ; on copper, gj-" x 6f" ; 
published in " La Revue de I'Art Moderne." 

Bridge at Cahors, Valentre, Etching No. 178. 
191 1. On zinc, 32" x 2l|" ; from a water- 
colour ; First State 100 proofs. Second State 
25 proofs. 

Bridge of Sighs, F^wiV^, Etching No. 181. 1911. 
On zinc, 17I" x 27I" ; etched from a draw- 
ing ; 100 proofs published and two later 
impressions with dry-point work added to 
the sky, 115, 146, 158. 

Bridge, Tower, London, Brangwyn lithograph, 
and a pastel also. 

Bridge, A, at Toledo, uncatalogued Etching, on 
zinc, 20,33." X 23Lf' . 

Bridge Builders, Etching No. 37. 1904. On 
zinc, 24y X 19^' ; really the construction 
of an iron landing-stage just below Green- 
wich Hospital for the unloading of coal, 


Bridges, medieval, 112. 

Bridges, Roman, 104, 105. 

Bridges, A Book of, by Frank Brangwyn and 
Walter Shaw Sparrow ; 36 plates in colour 
and 36 fine drawings. John Lane. See 

Britain's Call to Arms, Brangwj'n War Poster, 


British Home Life, it needs many improve- 
ments, 200. 

British public, its sentimentality, 64. 

British slackness, 142 ; its need of imperative 
discipline, 142 ; its fondness for sentimental 
" sensations," 149. 

British Troops occupy Dixmude, Brangwyn War 
Poster, 190. 

British Troops at I'pres, Brangwyn War Poster, 

British Wounded in the Trenches, two woodcuts 
in Brangw}'n's " At the Front and at the 
Base," published by the Fine Art Society, 
London, in 191 5, and containing six signed 
proofs in a portfoHo, 190 footnote. 

Brobdingnag of industrial machines, with men 
as Lilliputians, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 
125 et seq. 

Brock, A. Glutton, 41 footnote, 160, 163. 

Broil Toren, The, at Courtray, Woodcut 20 in 
Brangwyn's Belgium, 230. 

Brown, Ford Madox, 1821-1893, 213, 218, 244. 

Browning, Robert, on truth-seeking, 6 foot- 
note ; on taste, 56 ; " who keeps one end 
in \'iew, makes all things serve," 1 39 ; on 
art, 186. 

Browning, R. B., and black pigs, 71, 72. 

Browning's House at Venice, Etching No. 197. 
1912. On zinc, 18" x 27!-" ; etched from a 
water-colour; 125 proofs pubUshed. A 
happy picture of the Palazzo Resonica, with 
gondolas in the foreground, and on our 
right hand the canal in perspective. More 
foreground would be welcome. 

Bruges, Church of the Jerusalem, Woodcut 13 
in Brangwyn's Belgium. 

Bruges, A Farm near, Woodcut 5 in Brangwyn's 

Bruges Market Place, Woodcut 7 in Brangwyn's 

Bruges, Pont des Baudets, Woodcut 8 in Brang- 
wyn's Belgium. 

Bruges, Ouai Vert, Woodcut 9 in Brangwyn's 

Bruges, Windmills, Woodcut 12 in Brangwyn's 

Bruges, Barges, see Barges, Bruges. 

Bruges, Brewery I, see Brewery I, Bruges. 

Bruges, Brewery II, see Brewery II, Bruges. 

Bruges, Bridge, see Bridge, A, at Bruges. 

Bruges, Entrance to a Canal, see Entrance to a 

Bruges, Meat Market, see Meat Market, Bruges. 

Bruges, Old Women, see Old Women at Bruges, 
66, 68. 

Bruges, Porte de Gand, see Porte de Gand, 

Bruges, Porte St. Croix, see Porte St. Croix, 

Bruges, Roundabout, see Roundabout, Bruges. 

Bruges, Windmills, see Windmills, Bruges, etch- 
ing and lithograph. 


Brunswick, The, caught Anchors with the 

Enemy, Brangwyn painting, 204. 
Brush Drawings and Woodcuts, see Chapter 

Brussels, Grand Place, Woodcut 34 in F. B.'s 

Buccaneers, The, Oil-painting, 1893, 38, 39, 

194, 215, 229. 
Building adventures by Act of Parhament, 

Beaconsfield's ridicule, 249. 
Building a Frigate, 219. 

Building the New Bridge at Mantauban, Etch- 
ing No. 221, on zinc, 28J" x 23!", 123, 

Building the New Victoria and Albert Museum, 

Etching No. 52. 1904. On zinc, 24" X I9|-" ; 

etched from a drawing. Sir Aston Webb 

completed this building between May, 1899, 

and January, 1909, 128. 
Building a Ship, Etching No. 195. 1912. On 

zinc, 35y' X27J"; etched from a drawing; 

a First Trial State of Two Impressions and 

the Published State, 44, 123, 158. 
Building a Ship, F. B. woodcut in Verhaeren's 

poems, 226. 
Bunbury, 213. 

Burne-Jones, Sir Edward, 1833-1898, 5, 213. 
Butcher'' s Shop, Wormwood Scrubbs, Etching No. 

46. 1904. On zinc, 19I" xi8|-", 93. 
Butin, 73. 

Caje, A, at Montreuil, Etching No. 95. 1907. 
A sketch from life, on copper, 4" x 6", show- 
ing two women outside a cafe, one seated at 
a table, while the other in shadow turns 
towards her. Beyond them, at another table, 
two men discuss their affairs. 

Caje, A, at Fumes, Etching No. 125. 1908. 
On copper, 10" x 14" ; a pretty glimpse of 
the town framed by street architecture adds 
the charm of perspective to this croquis of 
outdoor cafe life. 

Cap, A, at Cahors, Etching No. 174. 191 1. 
On zinc, 10" x 8" ; a rustic place with a 
charming balcony and a curved tree ; women 
and children, and gesticulation from a man 
of nerves, 94. 

Cafe, A, at Tours, Etching No. 205, not yet 
catalogued, 157. 

Cahors, Valentre Bridge, Etching No. 189. 
1911. On copper, 9^" x6j" ; published in 
" La Revue de I'Art Moderne " with an 
article by G. Sorbier. 

Cahors, Valentre Bridge, Etching No. 178. 
191 1. From a water-colour, on zinc, 32" x 
21I" ; 100 proofs in the First State and 
25 proofs in the Second State, where strong 
light beats upon the piers and a dark sky 
displaces a light one. 

Cahors, Cloisters of the Cathedral, Etching No. 
186. 1911. A closely handled outdoor 
sketch on zinc, with men at work completing 
the old architecture, iii" x 14V. 

Cahors, A Cafe at, see under Cafe. 

Cahors, A Door at, see under Door. 

Caldecott, Randolph, 1846-1886, 213. 

Caledonia, Breaking Up the, Brangv^n litho- 
graph ; published in The Studio, Feb., 1914. 

Caledonia, Breaking Up the. Etching No. 78. 
1906. On zinc, 3 1 J" x 2 1 J". 

Caliban, 18, 133, 134. 

Calvary of St. Paul, Antwerp, Woodcut 32 in 
F. B.'s Belgium, 230. 

Cameron, D Y., 149. 

Canal at Hesdin, Etching No. 40. 1904. On 
copper, 14I-" X 15^" ; a pleasant nook of 
rustic architecture. 

Canal, Entrance to a, at Bruges, with trees, 
some figures, and a row of barges ; on zinc, 
16" X 11". 

Canal at Dixmude, Etching No. 129. 1908. 
An outdoor sketch on zinc, 9" x 7", with a 
criss-cross of logs in the foreground and a 
cluster of white-faced cottages across the 

Canal in Venice, Etching No. 155. 1910. On 
zinc, 8J" x 6-|" ; a special illustration in the 
Edition de Luxe of " Frank Brangwyn and 
his Work," by Walter Shaw Sparrow. Kegan 
Paul, Trench and Co., 1910. 

Cannon Street Railway Station and Bridge, 
water-colour, 244. 

Cannon Street Railway Station and Bridge, 
Etching No. 188. 1911. On zinc, 29" x 
28" ; from a water-colour, 133. 

Cannon Street Railway Station, Inside : the 
Hop-pickers, the largest of F. B.'s etched 
plates, recent and uncatalogued, 133. 

Caravan, A, at Albi, Etching 169. 1910. An 
outdoor sketch of popular life, with a show- 
man and his van and bear, a bridge in the 
background; on zinc, 14I" x ll|-", 94. 

Carlyle, Thomas, 55. 

Cartoons, Brangwyn's, their character, 208, 
209, 210. 

Castello della Ziza, Palermo, Etching No. 30 
1904. On zinc, 19" x 18", 92, 143. 


Castle on Fire, F. B. woodcut in Verhaeren's 

Les Villes Tentaculaires. 
Castle oj the Counts, Ghent, Woodcut 23 in 

F. B.'s Belgium, see Chapter XVI. 
Cathedral and Beljry at Tournay, Woodcut 47 

in F. B.'s Belgium, 228. 
Cathedral of St. Rombaut, Malines, Woodcut 

27 in F. B.'s Belgium, 232. 
Cathedral of St. Peter at Louvain, Woodcut 38 

in F. B.'s Belgium, 230. 
Cemetery, A Turkish, Etching No. 31. 1904. 

From a drawing done at Scutari, on zinc, 

l8f" X 17-4". 
Certificate for a Rowing Club, F. B. litho- 
Certificate for Shipping Confederation of the 

Port of London, Etching No. 83. 1906. On 

copper, I2|"x9"; 10 proofs in a Trial 

State and the Published State, 130. 
Certificate for the Master Shipwrights'' Company, 

Etching No. 85. 1906. On copper, 11" x 

i6f", 130. 
Cezanne, a leading Post-Impressionist, so called, 

and to a certain extent a pupil of Paul 

Gauguin, like Van Gogh. 
Chardin, J. B., 1699-1779, 250. 
Charities are nurses only, while duties are true 

physicians, 200. 
Charlet, N. T., 1792-1845, 72, 195. 
Chateau de Bouillon, Woodcut 45 in F. B.'s 

Chateau de Walxin, Woodcut 43 in F. B.'s 

Chemist in his Laboratory, F. B. woodcut in 

Verhaeren's Les Villes Tentaculaires, 226. 
Chimneys of Industrialism, F. B. woodcut in 

Verhaeren's Les Villes Tentaculaires, 226. 
Christ's Hospital, F. B.'s mural paintings at, 

208, 210. 
Church, The, two Brangwyn woodcuts in 

Verhaeren's Les Villes Tentaculaires, 226. 
Church, The, Nieuport, Woodcut 14 in F. B.'s 

Church of St. Austrebert at, Etching 

No. 98. 1907. On zinc, 23J" x 19!". 
Church of St. Nicholas, Paris, uncatalogued 

etching and of recent date. 
Church of St. Nicholas at Dixmude, Etching No. 

117. 1908. On copper, 26J" x 21 J", 148. 
Church of St. Nicholas at Dixmude, Woodcut 

19 in F. B.'s Belgium. 
Church of St. Nicholas at Fumes, Etching No. 

119. 1908. Onzinc, llj"x 12" ; this plate 

was etched out of doors. 

Church of St. Jacques, Liege, Woodcut 40 in 

F. B.'s Belgium. 
Church of the Jerusalem, Bruges, Woodcut 13 

in F. B.'s Belgium. 
Church of St. JValburge, Fumes, Woodcut 17 

in F. B.'s Belgium, 230. 
Church of St. Walburge, Fumes, Etching No. 

124. 1908. On zinc, 10" X 14" ; etched 

out of doors, 94. 
Church of the Holy Ghost, Messina, Etching No. 

151. 1910. From a water-colour, 284" x 

22J", on zinc, 156. 
Church Sta. Chiara del Carmine at Taormina, 

Etching No. 153. 1910. 7!" x 10", 156. 
Cider Press, The, 229. 
Cirq, St., Etchings of this townlet : No. 159, 

The Lot at ; No. 160, Old Houses at ; No. 

171, River Lot at ; A Mountebank, No. 176 ; 

No. 177, Some Bear-leaders ; No. 183, A 

Village Shop ; No. 184, A Street at ; No. 

198, A Street that looks dangerous. 
Clennell, Luke, 1 781-1840, 243. 
Claude, 1600-1682, qualities of his etchings, 

46 ; overfond of " animal animation," 72, 

85, 87, 245. 
Clausen, George, 245. 
Cliff Village, A, Etching No. 162. 1910. 

Done from nature at St. Cirq-la-Popie, on 

zinc, iji" X 18-^", 94. 
Cloisters, The, of Airvault Church, see under 

Cloth Hall at Ypres, Interior of. Woodcut 49 in 

F. B.'s Belgium, 233. 
Cloth Hall at Tpres, Woodcut 4 in F. B.'s 

Belgium, 229. 
Cloth Hall at Nieuport, Woodcut 16 in F. B.'s 

Clouds in etched work, 87. 
Coal Mine after an Explosion, Etching No. 59. 

1905. On zinc, 19" x 24^', 63, 128. 
Collier, Thomas, 1840-1891, 242. 
Colliers pushing Trucks, Brangwyn woodcut in 

Verhaeren's Les Villes Tentaculaires. 
Colliery, A, F. B. woodcut in Verhaeren's 

poems, 226. 
" Collingwood," by W. C. Russell, 1891, 

Brangwyn illustrations, 215. 
Colour, its renewing charms, 137 ; Ingres' 

false attitude to colour, 137; Brangwyn a 

colourist born, 137, 148 ; colour in streets, 

173, 181-183 ; in architecture, 173, 174, 

175, 176 ; in posters, 181-183. 
Columbus in sight of the New World, Brangwyn 

lithograph, 198. 


Commerce in Harbour, Brangvvyn woodcut in 

Les Villes Tentaculaires. 
Committees of True Artists to watch over the 

artistic welfare of towns, 173 et seq. 
Communion in the Church of St. Midard, 65. 
Connolly's A Fisherman of Costla, illustrated 

by F. B., 215. 
Constable, John, 1776-1837, 245. 
Constantinople, Santa Sophia, Etching No. 71. 

1906. From a drawing, on copper, 2o|-" x 


Constantinople, the Mosque of Ortakevi, on zinc, 

28t" X22i". 
Contention, how to determine its value, 6 et 

Controversy, how to determine its value, 6 et 

seq., 8. 
Copper and Zinc, their use in etchings, 79, 

Corneille, 62. 
Cornfield at Montreuil, Etching No. 104. 1907. 

From a pencil drawing, a zinc plate, 14" x 

sr, 84. 

Corot, Camille, 1796-1875, 65 footnote, 78, 85. 
Cotes, Francis, R.A., his pastels, 247. 
Cotman, John Sell, 1782-1842, 149, 213, 238, 

242> 253. 

Cottet, Charles, one of the " Intimi't " Im- 
pressionists in the group that includes 
Blanche, Menard, Bussy, Le Sidaner, 
Simon, Lobre, Prinet, Ernest Laurent, Very, 
and Besnard, 7, 39, 73. 

Couture and Manet, 36. 

Cox, David, 1783-1859, 213, 238, 242. 

Cozens, John Robert, 1752-1799 (.?), 242. 

Cranach's heads too big for the surface on 
which they are drawn, 80. 

Crime in VVar, hovi' it should be considered 
and treated in posters and in propaganda, 

Cristall, Joshua, died 1847, 243. 

Critics, how they might be useful, 159 ; public 
officials should not influence the markets by 
writing as critics, 174, 175. 

Criticism and Art, see Introductory, and 
Chapter I. 

Criticism inferior to Interpretation, g ; see 
Introductory, and Chapter I. 

Crockett, S. R., 217. 

Crowds and their moods, 158. 

Crowding to the Exchange, Brangwyn woodcut 
in Verhaeren's Les Villes Tentaculaires. 

Cranj^A-zon, 7if, Etching No. 196. 1912. On 
zinc, 3o|-° X 29^", 16, 27, 28, 76. 

Crucifixion, The, Brangvvyn oil-painting, now 

in the collection of Captain Audley Hervey, 

16, 27, 28 et seq., 210. 
Crucifixion, The, prefatory sketch in pastel, 

27, 248. 
Cubists, 15. 

Cundall's book on English water-colour, 235. 
Cupples, George, 218. 
Customs and Conventions, their tyranny, 259 

et seq. 

Damascus, Garden, A, 222. 

Damme, Woodcut 15 in F. B.'s Belgium. 

Daniel], William, 1769-1837, 238. 

Dante, 152, 239. 

Daumier, 1808-1879, 23 footnote, 94, 195. 

Dawn and the Sentry, Brangwyn War Poster, 

Day, End of the. Etching No. 68. 1906. Done 

from nature at Mortlock ; a zinc plate, 

20" X 6i". 
Death, Montaigne on Death, 58 ; Legros' 

etchings on the triumph of Death, 64 ; 

Rethel's prints on the same epic, 64 ; La 

Mort du Vagabond, 69-70 ; Death and the 

Woodman, 72. 
Decadence is many aspects of London, 168. 
Decamps, Gabriel, 1 803-1 860, 39. 
Decorative art, 51, 107 et seq. 
Decoration, Mural, 51. 
Decoration, F. B.'s passion for, 87, 107 et 

Degas, Edgar, 35, 36, 81. 
Degroux, Charles, 36, 196. 
Dehodencq, Alfred, 39. 
Delacroix, Eugene, 1798-1863, 23 footnote, 

39, 62, 224, 252. 
De Loutherbourg, P. J., 1741-1812, 4. 
Delstanche's The Little Towns of Flanders, con- 
trasted with Brangwyn's Book of Belgium, 

Democracy, 54, 150, 168, 169, 258. 
" Democratization of Art," its antiquity, 138, 

139, 150. 
Demolition of the G.P.O., London, uncatalogued 

etching and of recent date, 132. 
De Morgan, William, 175. 
Denis, Maurice, 31. 
Design, 85. 
Design and Industries Association, its useful 

and necessary aims, 142, 164. 
Disraeli, see under Beaconsfield. 
Detaille, Edouard, 195. 

Dewint, Peter, 1784-1849, 87, 241, 242. 
Dickens, Charles, 8, 200, 202, 208. 
Diderot, 250. 

Dinant, Woodcut 44 in F. B.'s Belgium. 
Dinet, E., 39. 

Dixmude, Church of St. Nicholas, Etching No. 
117. 1908. On copper, 26;^" x 2lf" ; pub- 
lished in Vienna, 100 proofs of the issue 
being signed by F. B. Ten proofs were 
taken before the plate was sold. 
Dixmude, A Canal at, see under Canal. 
Dixmude, The Parrot Inn, see under Inn. 
Dolce Far Niente, F. B. picture, 214. 
Door, A, at Cahors, Etching No. 158. 1910. 

An outdoor study on zinc, 9" x 6|". 
Doyle, Dicky, 213. 
Drink, two Brangwyn lithographs. 
Dujardin, Karel, 78. 
Dumas of " Monte Cristo," 62, 254. 
Duncan, Breaking up H.M.S., Etching No. 
193. 1911. On zinc, 32f' X 2l|". Etched 
out of doors in the winter of 1911, at 
Woolwich ; 125 proofs published, 41. 
Duncan, Prow of H.M.S., Etching No. 194. 

1912. On zinc, 15I" x 12". 
Dunes, Les, d Nieuport, Woodcut 3 in F. B.'s 

Dye Fat in Bruges, Etching No. 42. 1904. 
A sketch on zinc, iSJ" x 171". 

Eastern Music, 221. 

Easternism, Brangwyn's, 38, 39, 183, 220, 221 
et seq., 236, 237. 

Education and the graphic arts, 197. 

Egyptian Art, its grandeur, 134, 135. 

Eliot, George, 97. 

Elizabethan genius, 5, 20. 

Emotion in Art, 16, see also Chapter I ; aesthe- 
tic emotions not the ordy emotions in great 
art, 96, 97, 146. 

Empires, their natural dangers usually forgotten 
in our country, 220. 

End of a Day at Mortlake, Etching No. 68, 
20" x6f", on zinc, 129. 

England, the masculine genius of earlier 
England, 5 ; her present-day weaknesses, 
149, 169-171, 185, 189. 

England's highest wealth the character of her 
people, 199. 

England's soul, 199, 200, 212. 

English Artists, frequent preference for femi- 
nine qualities, 5 ; their traditions in fine 
craftsmanship, 148. 

2 N 

English character, far more emotional than it 
used to be and far less thorough in work, 149, 
169-171, 189. 

English critics and Brangwyn, 3. 

English, The, People, their defects, 161, 162, 
163, 172, 189. 

English tradition in fine craftsmanship, its 
quahties, 147. 

Enthusiasts, their frequent inability to tell the 
truth, 6. 

Entrance to a Canal, Bruges, Etching No. 44. 
1904. On zinc, 16" x 11". 

Entrance to Montreuil, Etching No. 105. 1907. 
On zinc, 1 5 J" x 14" ; etched from nature. 

" Eothen," by A. W. Kinglake, 1913, Brangw)'n 
illustrations, 220 et seq. 

Espalion Bridge, 1 14. 

Estaminet at Montreuil, Etching No. 96. 1907. 
On copper, 6J" x 5;}- ; an outdoor sketch. 

"Etched Work of Frank Brangwyn," Catalogues. 
The Newbolt Catalogue was published in 
1908, a very large and heavy book in a 
limited edition of 150 copies at 10 guineas. 
It ran out of print, and the etchings increased 
so rapidly that a new catalogue became 
necessary. This was compiled and published 
in 1912, by the Fine Art Society, London ; 
it is an illustrated record, and it gives a 
number to each of 200 etchings. 

Etching, its early history, 44 et seq.; on printing 
etchings, 48 et seq. 

Etchings, Brangwyn's, opponents of, see 
Chapter II. 

Etchers who are painters also, 50 et seq. 
Exodus, Belgium, 1914, The, F. B. woodcut, 226. 
Exodus from Stricken Messina, F. B. water- 
colour, 238. 

Fairlight Glen, near Hastings, Etching No. 25. 
1904. On zinc, I2|" x 15!", a sketch from 
nature ; bending trees form a round arch 
through which a distant headland is seen 
against a clear sky. The point-work is 
delicate, intricate, even Rembrandtesque ; 
only one proof exists of this interesting 

Fair Wind, A, F. B. woodcut, 226. 

" Falaba " sunk by a submarine, 192 

Fallacies and Etching ; see Chapter II. 

Farm, Gate of a, at Montreuil, Etching No. 90, 
see under Gate. 

Farm near Bruges, Woodcut 5 in F. B.'s 


Farmer, A, of Laroquc, Etching No. 164. 
1910. Made from nature near St. Cirq-la- 
Popie, on zinc, 143" x io|" ; 94. 

Farmyard, A, at Montreuil, Etching No. 91. 
1907. Done out of doors, on copper, 
I2;J" x8f" ; a few ducks and hens would be 
better than the two labourers, who look too 
big, dominating a good sketch. 

Fault-finding, its psychology, il ct seq. 

Feast of Lazarus, Brangwyn lithograph. 

Feast of Lazarus, Etching No. 139, see also 
under Lazarus, 63. 

Field Hospital in France, Brangwyn War 
Poster ; the same subject appears in the 
portfolio of six tinted woodcuts published 
by the Fine Art Society in 1915, 194, 

Fielding, 62. 

Fighting qualities of man. The, 74. 

Figeac, On the Road to. Etching No. 161. 
1910. Made from nature, on zinc, 104-" x 

Hh\ 94- . 

Fine Art Society, London, Brangwyn's British 

Finiguerra, Masso, 45. 
Fire, Primitive, and Industrial Fire, F. B. mural 

paintings, 212. 
Fisher, Alexander, and his enamels, 176. 
Fisherman, Flead of a. Etching No. 12. 1903. 

Done from life at Aldcburgh, Suffolk, on 

zinc, 4" ;■; 5" ; 15 proofs published. 
Fishmongers' Hall, 104, 105. 
Fishmongers'' Hall, Etching No. 50. 1904. 

On copper, 5" x 71" ; a part cut off London 

Bridge I, No. 5, and published in The Acorn, 

Flemish Canal, A, Woodcut 50 in F. B.'s 

Flute Player, A, Etching No. 145. 1909. On 

copper, 33" X 5^-". 
France and Frank Brangwyn, 257. 
Frederic, Harold, 217. 
Fromentin, Eugene, 1820-1876, 10, 39. 
Fruit-carriers, Arab, F. B. lithograph, 129. 
Funeral, A Venetian, Etching No. iiia, see 

under Venetian. 
Funeral at Sea, Brangwyn oil-painting, 1890, 

Fumes, Etchings done at or of this town : 

Church of St. Nicholas, see under Church ; 

Apse of St. Walburge, see under Apse ; 

Church of St. Walburge, see under Church ; 

A CafS, see under Cafe ; Market, see under 

Market ; Gateway, see under Gateway ; A 


Water-carrier, see Water ; A Mill, see Mill ; 
Man with a Bagpipe, see under Man. 
Futurists, classics the only ones, 5. 

Gainsborough, Thomas, 1727-1788, 245, 262. 

Galleon Fair, The, F. B. naval picture, 204. 

Galleons Sailing from Cadiz, F. B. naval picture, 

Ga7id, Porte de, Etching No. 63. 1906. Out- 
door study, on copper, 13-J" x l$Y i ^ 
Trial State of five impressions and the 
Published State. 

Gate, A, of Assisi, Etching ISio. 16. 1903. On 
zinc, 17" X 13", 83. 

Gate of a Farm, Montreuil, Etching No. 90. 
On zinc, 12" x 9I", 93. 

Gate, A, of Naples, Etching No. 172. 1910. 
From a water-colour, on zinc, 17I" x 201-", 

Gateway of Avila, recent etching not yet cata- 
logued, 157. 

Gateway at Fumes, F. B. Etching No. 127, 
9" X 7", on zinc, 93. , 

Gauguin, 15. 

Gavarni, 94, 195. 

Genius and Interpretation, 9 ; see also Chapter 

Genius, What is it r 4, 5, 158 ; its limitations 
in prolific workers, 158. 

Genius in Brangwvn's versatility, 2, 3, 5, 143, 

Gericault's picture of a shipwreck, contrasted 
«. with F. B.'s marine and submarine posters, 


German industrial art, its good qualities, 142. 

Germany and British War Posters, 194, 195. 

Ghent, woodcut I in F. B.'s Belgium ; also 
two other subjects from the same city, 
Castle of the Counts, and Belfry and Townhall. 

Ghent, Unloading Bricks, Etching No. 140, see 
under Unloading. 

Ghent, Old Houses, Etching No. 64, see under 

Gilbert, Sir John, 1817-1897, one of F. B.'s 
quarter-cousins in water-colour, 213, 242, 

Gillray, James, 1757-1815, one of F.B.'s occa- 
sional quarter-cousins in water-colour and in 
abundant outlook on the stress and strain of 
a period, 213, 242. 

" Girl, The, and the Faun," by EdenPhillpotts, 
1916, Brangwyn illustrations. 

Girls Bathing, Brangwj'n lithograph. 

Girls Dancing, Brangwyn lithograph. 

Girtin, Thomas, 47, 48, 144, 149, 15S, 213, 

Gothic Sculpture, 15 ; architecture, 76, 144, 

148, 149. 
Grandeur in Art, 104 ; often absent in British 

sentiment, 105 ; in Egyptian art, 134, 135 ; 

its value in national character, 163. 
Greece, Ancient, 9 ; would her influence have 

been welcome in Brangwyn's work? 136; 

and popular life in art, 138. 
Greek Spirit, The, 145. 
Guillaumet, Gustave, 1 840-1847, one of 

Brangwyn's kinsmen in Orientalist research, 

Gurth and F. B.'s etching of A Swineherd, 


Hadrian Building his Wall, Brangwyn litho- 
graph, 198. 

Hal, Woodcut 33 in F. B.'s Belgium. 

Half-timbering and " Magpie " Houses, 140. 

Hamerton, his remarks on Rembrandt, 29. 

Hammersmith, etchings done there : Old 
Hammersmith, No. 128, 1908, on zinc, 
28" X 22" ; Bargebuilders, No. 28, 1904, on 
copper, 3J" x 4J" ; Reach, No. 9, 1903, see 
below ; A Tree, No. 19, 1903, on zinc, 
12" X 15" ; An Old Tree, No. 14, 1903, on 
zinc, 4" X 5"; Trees and Factory, No. 11, 
1903, on zinc, 16" x 13". 

Hammersmith Reach, Etching No. 9. 1903. 
On zinc, Il|"x9^"; north side of river 
above Hammersmith Bridge, showing land 
now built over ; only 15 proofs taken. This 
etching was united to a small piece now 
called Houses and Factories, 4^^" x 7I". 

Hannibal, Breaking up H.M.S., see under 
Breaking Up. 

Harding, James DuflSeld, 1797-1863, 213. 

Harmonies of Affinity, harmonies of contrast, 
223, 224. 

Harrison, Frederic, on bad aspects of London 
during the War, 162, 168. 

Harvesters, Brangwyn lithography, 198. 

Hay-uiain, A, at Montreuil, Etching No. 97. 
1907. On copper, 12" x 9!" ; etched from 
a drawing and published in the earlier 
Catalogue of Brangwyn's Etchings, a work 
compiled in 1908 by Frank Newbolt, and 
now replaced by the Fine Art Society's 
Catalogue of 191 2, 93. 
Head of a Suffolk Fisherman, Etching No. 12. 

1903. On zinc, 4" x 5" ; done from life at 

Aldeburgh, Suffolk; 15 proofs taken, 80, 

Head of a Jew, Etching No. 2. 1900. On 

zinc, 4" X 5" ; 12 proofs printed, 80. 
Head of an Old Man, Etching No. 13. 1903. 

On zinc, 5" x 4" ; done from life ; 10 proofs 

printed, 80, 81. 
Head of an Old Man, Etching No. 88. 1907. 

On zinc, 14I-" x 13" ; a tender and pathetic 

study from life ; 20 proofs printed. 
Headless Crucifi.x, The, Etching No. 152, 12" x 

15I-", on copper, 148, 156, 157. 
Headpieces and Tailpieces by Brangwyn, 219. 
Hearne, English painter and illustrator, 213, 

Hemy, Charles Napier, Marine Painter, 1S41- 

1917, 206. 
Henley, W. E., 43, 179. 
Heroic Style, The, necessary in naval and 

military posters, 195. 
Herrick, 56, 141. 
Hesdin, Etching No. 58. 1905. On copper, 

ZV =< 44" ; a wide road bordered by trees ; 

a sketch from nature. 
Hesdin Canal, Etching No. 40. 1904. On 

copper, I4f " x 15J" ; good study of rustic 

architecture on the road to Crecy and 

Hobbema, Meindert, 1 638-1 709, 84. 
Holland, James, 1 800-1870, 242, 244. 
Homer, accepts life as war, 62. 
Hospital, The, Brangwyn War Cartoon, 195- 

Houghton, Arthur Boyd, 1 836-1875, 213. 
House Agents, they are often at odds with 

householders, 164 and footnote. 
House, Bro-wning's, Venice, see under Brozvning. 
House, The Modernised, its vulgarity, 166 ; 

we need a revival of true Inns, 206. 
Hugo, Victor, 62, 65 ; misunderstands Millet's 

Semeur, 122. 
Humour in etchings, 94, 132. 
Hunt, Alfred William, 1 830-1 896, 2^4. 
Hunt, Holman, 220. 
Hunt, William Henry, 1790- 1864, 4. 
Huxley, 53. 
Huy, Woodcut 41 in F. B.'s Belgium. 

Ibbetson, Julius Cassar, 1759-1817, 243. 
Ideality in art, what is it ? 53. 
Ideas, great, in art, what are they i^^lS^et seq., 
134, 261. 


// Traghetto, Etching No. 175. 191 1. On 
zinc, 141' X I5i", 146. 

Illusion, The, called Peace, 60 et seq., 73 et seq. 

Image, Professor Selwyn, 4 footnote, 72 foot- 
note, 82. 

Imagination in national aims, often absent in 
England, 161. 

Immacolata di Marnior, Shrine of The Madonna, 
at Messina, Etching No. 154. 1910. On 
zinc, 29" X 23" ; etched from a water- 
colour, 156. 

Impressionism and Impressionists, 7, 15. 

Incheville, Balisteria at. Etching No. 141 . 
1909. On zinc, 10" x 8^". 

Industrial Art, in Germany, its good qualities, 

Industrialism, 8, iig et seq., 121, 122, 141, 142, 
163, 164, 179. 

Influences at odds with present-day hfe, 74. 

Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique, 1780-1867, 

35, 36, 137, 138, 145, 251- 
In the Belgian Trenches, Brangwyn War Poster, 

In the Trenches : British Wounded, two tinted 

woodcuts in F. B.'s At the Front and at the 

Base, 190. 
In a War Hospital, Brangwyn War Cartoon, 

Inn of the Parrot at Dixmude, Etching No. 1 31. 

1908. On zinc, 14I" x 2l|" ; from a draw- 
ing ; Trial State in two Impressions and the 

Published State. 
Innovators, 7, 9. 
Inns, Old English, why they should be revived, 

206 et seq. 
Instinct, 26, 35 et seq., 53. 
Interior of the Church at Dixmude, Woodcut 48 

in F. B.'s Belgium, 234. 
Interior of the Cloth Hall at Tpres, Woodcut 49 

in F. B.'s Belgium, 233. 
Interpreters of art are better than critics, 9 ; 

see also Chapter I. 

Jacquemart, Jules, as etcher, 78. 

James, Henry, quotation from his lecture on 

Balzac, 134. 
Jerusalem, Church of the, at Bruges, Woodcut 

13 in F. B.'s Belgium. 
Jessopp, Dr. Augustus, 179. 
Jew, Head of a. Etching No. 2, 1900 ; see under 

John, Augustus, his masculinity, 5. 
Johnson, Dr., on English Inns, 206, 207. 

Johnston, Edward, his studies in lettering 

adapted by German enterprise, 142. 
Jones, George, R.A., 1786-1869, 241. 
Journalism, some of its evil effects, 169, 170 ; 

see also under Newspapers. 
Journalism, Daily, in the work of artists, 158 ; 

more dangerous to painters and etchers than 

to vwriters, 158. 

Kean, Edmund, 184. 

Keats and Nature, 153. 

Keene, Charles Samuel, 1823-1891, 213. 

Kew Bridge, Old, Etching No. 51. 1904. On 

zinc, I5J-" X 13". 
Kinglake's Eothen, F. B. Illustrations in, 220 

et seq. 
Kipling, 199. 
Kitchener, Lord, Facsimile of his Letter with 

Designs by Brangwyn, 1916. 

Labour, First State, and Labour, Second State, 
Brangwyn lithographs, 198. 

Labour Halls and Seamen's Clubs, 164, 203- 

Labour and Industry in Brangwyn's Art, 119, 
120, 121, \22 et seq. ; see also Chapter IX. 

La Fontaine on the Poor, 198. 

Lalanne, Maxime, his treatment of clouds in 
etched work, 87. 

Lamb, Charles, 1775-1834, 49, 155. 

La Mort, F. B. woodcut, 226. 

Landing Men from a Naval Fight, Brangwyn 
War Poster, 194. 

Landscape painters and etchers, their frequent 
misuse of animate figures, 70, 71, 72 and 

Last Boat from Antwerp, The, Brangwyn War 
Poster, 194. 

Last Fight of the Revenge, The, 218, 219. 

Laveurs de Laine, Brangwyn lithograph. 

Lawyers, The, Etching No. 142. 1909. On 
zinc, 23!" X 19^" ; unfinished plate in Three 
States. 1st State, half-length portrait in 
profile of Frank Newbolt, in barrister's full 
rig, seated in court, a sympathetic and good 
study ; 2nd State, other heads indicated ; 
3rd State, the good portrait displaced by an 
imagined lawyer's head, sour and irritable. 

Lazarus, Feast of. Etching No. 139. 1908. 
On zinc, 28" x 19I" ; in a Trial State of 
Three Impressions, with a crowd of servant* 
and musicians behind waiting upon rich men 
who sit at a long table ; in a Published State 


with a changed background, a flight of steps 
with figures displacing the earlier design, 63, 

Leeds, 213. 

Legros, Alphonse, 33 ; a parallel between him 
and Brangwyn, Chapter III ; he wished to 
enlarge to life-size by magic lantern the 
etched portraits by Vandyke, 82 ; his Burning 
Village, 144 ; on the use of copper and 
zinc in etching, 148 footnote ; his etchings 
of The Triumph of Death, 152. 

Leighton, Robert, 217. 

Leonardo da Vinci, 82, 137; his literary 
emotions, 147 ; his versatility, 255. 

Lepere, his etchings of architecture, 149. 

Lethaby, VV. R., on shoddy workmanship, 141 ; 
on design, 152 ; on the meaning of art, 

Leverhulme, Lord, 200. 
Lewis, John Frederick, R.A., 1805- 1876, 220, 

Library and University at Lotivain, Woodcut 37 

in F. B.'s Belgium. 
Liege : Church of St. Jacques, Woodcut 40 in 

F. B.'S Belgium. 
Light and Colour, 137, 148, 153. 
Lincoln, Abraham, 90. 
Linton, the late Sir J. D., 242. 
Liquor, its use and abuse, 202. 
Lithographs, Brangwyn's, see Chapter XIIL 
Lithographs and school education, 197. 
Lloyd's Registry, F. B.'s mural paintings for, 

208, 211. 
Loading a Galleon, F. B.'s naval picture, 204, 

London and Brangwyn, see Chapter XI ; also 

London Bridge, 83, 104. 
Londoners, their old-time fondness for timber 

houses, 140 ; their present defects, see 

Chapter XI. 
Longpre, Old Women at. Etching No. 173. 

191 1. On zinc, 21" x 19" ; really a Second 

State of " Old Women at Bruges," No. 65. 
Loo, Woodcut 22 in F. B.'s Belgium. 
Loot, Brangwyn lithograph. 
Lord Howe sails from Spithead, Brangwyn 

painting, 204. 
Lot, The River, Etching No. 171, 1910 ; see 

under River. 
Lot, The River, at St. Cirq, Etching No. 159; 

see under River. 
Lot, The River, at Vers, Etching No. 179. 191 1. 

On zinc, 6J-" x 5^", 94. 

Louvain, Woodcuts 2 and 36 in F. B.'s Belgium. 
Loutherbourg, Philip James de, R.A., 1740- 

1812, 238. 
Low Horizons, too often a trick in art, 88, 

" Lusitania," 192. 
Lustred Tiles as notes of colour in architecture, 

Lutyens, 2, 173. 

Machines versus Men, 119, 120, 121, 122 et 

McKewan, David, 1817-1873, 242. 

Mackmurdo, A. H., 35. 

Maeterlinck, Maurice, 224. 

Making Sailors, a suite of six Brangwyn litho- 
graphs of naval life. 

Malines, three woodcuts in F. B.'s Belgium 
represent this city. 

Man carrying a Load of Books, Etching No. 82. 
1906. Study for a bookplate, on copper, 
5|-" X 7^%" ; a Trial State in 15 proofs, and 
a Published State in an article by Roger 
Marx, " Gazette des Beaux Arts," March, 

Man with a Bagpipe, Etching No. 134. 1908. 
An outdoor study at Furnes, on zinc, 8" x 
6". The piper plays to some children and 
two men. 

Man with a Basket, and Man carrying a Box, 
two Brangwyn lithographs, 198. 

Man with a Hoe, and Man with a Pot, two 
Brangwyn lithographs, 198. 

Manet, Edouard, died of locomotor ataxy, 
April 30, 1883. A leader of French Impres- 
sionism, 36. 

Mantegna, Andrea, 1431-1506, his engravings, 
45, 48, 62, 82 ; and Millet, 1 35. 

Maple-tree at Barnard Castle, Etching No. 55. 
1 905 . A study direct from nature, on copper, 
14^" X lol", 89. 

Marcel, Henri, his review of Brangwyn's 
etchings, 119; on F. B.'s art in printing, 
128, 129; on F. B.'s workmen, 136; on 
F. B.'s Old Houses at Ghent, 144. 

Maria della Salute, Santa, Venice, for etchings 
Nos. 108, no, 118, see under Santa. 

Marie, Pont, Paris, see under Pont. 

Marine Painting, Brangwyn's, 37 et seq., 62, 
69, 70, 117 ; posters, 191 et seq. 

Maris, Mathieu, 8. 

Market Place, Algeciras, Brangwyn water- 
colour, 237. 


Market Place at Bruges, Woodcut 7 in F. B.'s 

Market Square at Fumes, F. B. Etching No. 126, 
on zinc. 1908. 8"x6", 93. 

Market Square at Montreuil, Etching No. 106, 
1907. An outdoor study, on copper, 6" x 4I-". 

Mars makes appeal to Fuhan, Brangwyn War 
Poster, 196. 

Martin, John, 1789-1854, 155. 

Master Shipwrights'' Company, Certificate for, 
130, see also under Certificate. 

Mater Dolorosa Belgica, see double-page plate. 

Matisse, 33, 42. 

Meal, The, F. B. pastel, 249. 

Meat Market at Bruges, Etching No. 69. 1906. 
On copper, 11" x 12" ; a Trial Proof without 
a sky in 10 impressions ; the Published State, 
with a dark sky, belongs to the first Catalogue 
of F. B.'s etchings, compiled by Frank 
Newbolt and published by the Fine Art 
Society, London, in 1908. 

Meau.x, Old Houses on Timber Piles, see under 
Old, 143. 

Mehoffer and Brangwyn, 125. 

Meissonier's " La Barricade," 224. 

Melodrama, what is it ? 51 et seq. 

Melville, Arthur, 1858-1904, his alleged in- 
fluence on F. B., 235. 

Men carrying Fruit, Brangwyn lithograph, 

Men carrying a Plank, Brangwyn Uthograph, 

Men Cutting Corn, Brangwyn lithograph, 198. 

Men in a Bakehouse at Montreuil, Etching No. 
132, from a sketch, on zinc, 20" x 25 J", 131. 

MfB on a Zz^Zifn-, Etching No. 73. 1906. Out- 
door study from life, on zinc, 31^" x 21J" ; 
only two impressions taken, 131. 

Men Spinning, Brangwyn lithograph, 198. 

Men with Barrels, Brangwyn lithograph, 198. 

Men Unpacking Boxes, Brangwyn lithograph, 

Merchants and their Camels, 222. 

Meryon, 46 and footnote ; his uncanny gifts, 
70 ; his apprenticeship, 78 ; he tests tin, 79 
and footnote ; his fondness for birds, 86, 87 ; 
Meryon and Brangwyn, 93 ; and the sea, 
117, 118 ; his literary emotions, 146, 150. 

Messina Etchings, 154 et seq., 241. 

Messina Etchings : No. 146, The Balcony, 1910, 
4" ^ 5i " ; No- 147) ^^'^ ^^^ Trombe, 1910, 
23I" X 2ii"; No. 148, Apse of Duomo, 1910, 
291-"' X 23I-"; No. \^<), Street in Letojanni near 
Taonnina, ly^" :■ 11;"; Ko. \^o, Old Houses, 


28J" x 22"; No. 151, Church of the Holy 
Ghost, 28|" X 22J" ; No. 152, The Headless 
Crucifix, 12" X 1 5 J" ; No. 154, Shrine of 
the Immaculate Virgin, 29" x 23". Apart 
from Nos. 152, 146, 149, outdoor studies, 
these plates were made from original water- 
colour and other sketches. 

Messina Water-colours: made after the 
earthquake of 1908, and cxh(ibited at the 
Fine Art Society in 1 910, 239 et seq. 

Mestrovic, 14, 15. 

Metalwork for our streets, 176 et seq. 

Meunier, Constantin, one of Brangwyn's fore- 
runners and kindred spirits, 59, 73, 125, 

Michelangelo, a brooding workman, 16 ; and 
Brangwyn, 18 ; his weight of style, 40 ; 
accepts life as a phase of war, 62 ; his tre- 
mendous vigour and his love of delicate 
trifles, 82 ; a mesmeric master, 135. 

Military huts, 1 70. 

Mills in history and in art, 96 et seq. ; mediseval, 
98, 99 ; French, 99, loo ; fortified mills. 
100; Rembrandt's, loi. 

Mill at Fumes, Etching No. 133. 1908. An 
outdoor study, on zinc, 15" x 12", 103. 

Mill, The Black, Winchelsea ; see also under 
Black, loi. 

Millbank, Mr., in Coningsby, 200. 

Mill-Bridge at Montreuil, Etching No. 33. 1904. 
On zinc, 14" x 14;"; a Trial State of five 
impressions with a clear sky, and a Published 
State with clouds and with darker shadows, 
93. 100. 

Mill-Wheels at Montreuil, Etching No. 35, 
outdoor study, on zinc, 15?" x 13", 93, 100. 

Millais, Sir John Everett, Bart., 1829-1896, 218. 

Millet, J. F., and Brangwyn, contrastive parallel, 

Millet, Jean Fran9ois, 1814-1875, 10, 23 foot- 
note ; 36, 59, 73, 76, 122, 201, 210. 
Mills at Montreuil, Etching No. 32. 1904. 

Outdoor study, on zinc, 12" x I3|-". 
Milton, John, 1608-1674, his mighty and 

magniiicent speech, ,, 16, 56, 62. 
Miners at IVork Underground, Etching No. 87. 

1907. Study from life, on zinc, 27J" x 19J", 

Moat, The, Uncatalogued etching of recent 

Modernity or Modernism, often out of scale 

with to-day's life, 3 ; its foes, 3 ; its recent 

movements, 14 ; its defects, 19, 20, 41, 74; 

its value, 20, 21. 

Modernism, excessive, 31, 74. 

Modern life not friendly to art, 71. 

Monet, Claude, leader of French Impressionism 

in the study of sunlight, 37, 40. 
Alonk preaching to a Throng oj Workmen, F. B. 

woodcut, 226. 
Monks, Seven, Etching No. 114. 190S. A 

rapid study of differing characters and 

figures, on zinc, 6" ;, 7^". 
Monks, Two, in Earnest Talk, Etching No. 115. 

1908. A rapid sketch in outline, on copper, 

2|" X 2f ". 

Monochrome wash, F. B. drawings in, 245. 

Mons, Woodcut 52 in F. B.'s Brangwyn. 

Montaigne, 58, 225. 

Montreuil in F. B.'s Etchings : No. 32, 1904, 
The Mills; No. 33, 1904, Mill-Bridge; 
No. 35, 1904, Mill-Wheels ; No. 92, 1907, 
Bootmakers ; No. 96, 1907, Estaminet ; 
No. 97, 1907, A Haycart ; No. 98, 1907, 
Church oJ St. Austrebert ; No. 103, 1907, 
Church of St. Saiihe ; No. 105, 1907, 
Entrance to ; No. 132, 1908, Men in a Bake- 
house ; No. 104, 1907, A Corrifield ; No. 
106, 1907, Market Square ; No. 34, 1904, 
A Road. 

Monument, The, in a Belgian Town, F. B. 
woodcut in Verhaeren's poems, 226. 

Monument, The, London, Etching No. 200. 191 2. 
Looking westward from the top of Fish 
Street, with the tower of St. Magnus in the 
distance ; a zinc plate 174" x 28". There 
are two States of this typical Brangwyn, 
besides a trial proof in two impressions. 
First State, 20 proofs, with radiating light 
from behind a dark storm-cloud ; Second 
State, 100 proofs, cumulus clouds displace 
the light that radiates, 87, 143. 

Moore, Albert, 1841-1893, 242. 

Moods in Art, 27. 

Moonlight in a Turkish Cemetery, 222. 

Moorish Well, A, Brangwyn water-colour, 

Morgan, William de, the late, and colour in 
architecture, 175. 

Morland, George, 1763-1804, 36. 

Morley, Lord, on grandeur, 104 footnote ; on 
a grave British weakness, 162 ; on intem- 
perate legislation, 202. 

Morris, William, aids Brangwyn, 35 ; his 
example ably adapted by members of the 
German Werkbund, 142. 

Mosque of Ortakevi at the Entrance to the 
5w/AoTO.r, Etching No. 1S5. 1911. From a 

drawing, on zinc, 28-j" x 22J" ; 125 proofs 
published, 144, 145, 147. 

Mountebank, A, at St. Cirq-la-Popie, Etching 
No. 176. 191 1. A humorous sketch from 
life, on zinc, loj" x gj", 94. 

Mouth of the Scheldt, Woodcut 28 in F. B.'s 

Mowers, Brangwyn lithograph, 198. 

Mtiller, William, 1812-1845, one of F. B.'s 
quarter-cousins in water-colour, 33. 

MuDgardt's Court of the Ages, Panama Ex- 
hibition, F. B.'s mural paintings, 208, 211, 

Municipal control over advertisers and adver- 
tisements, 178. 

Municipal showrooms for the best work done 
by towns, their necessary service, 164. 

Mural Decoration, 208, 211, 212. 

Music and the graphic arts, 23, 24. 

Music, Brangwyn lithograph, 198. 

Musician, A Beggar, sec under Beggar. 

Namur, Woodcut 42 in F. B.'s Belgium. 
Naples, A Gate of. Etching No. 172. 1910. 

See under Gate. 
Naples, A Back Street in Naples, Etching No. 

191. 1912. See under Back Street. 
Napoleon, 62. 
National Welfare and Art, see Chapters XIII 

and XIV. 
National Institute for the Blind, Brangwyn 

cartoons for, 195, 196. 
Nash, Joseph, 1808-1878, 213. 
Nativity, The, Etching No. 199. 1912. On 

zinc, 28t" X 2iy, 16, 30, 76. 
Nativity, The, Study for, 253 ; sec also the 

double-page plate. 
Nature, her hours of peace in years of struggle, 

6, 90. 
Nature-worship, often sentimental, 90. 
Naval Posters, their great value, 179 ; not yet 

frequent, 185 ; Brangwyn's, 191 et scq. 
Navy, Our, as an inspiration in architecture, 

Nelson, Horatio, 1758-1805, 215, 216; 

Southey's Life of, with Brangwyn illustra- 
tions, 191 1, 219. 
Neuf, Pont, Paris ; see under Pont. 
Neuve Chapelle, At, Brangwyn War Poster, 

Newbolt, Frank, compiler of the first catalogue 

of F. B.'s etchings, 251 footnote. 


Newman, Cardinal, 1801-1890, on the very 
" safe " man, 177 ; his perfect charity of 
kindliness, 240. 

Newspapers, their bad influence, 53, 61 foot- 
note, 168, 169, 171, li() et seq. 

Nieuport, Barges, see under Barges. 

Notre Dame, Church of, at Eu, Etching No. 143. 
1909. On zinc, 30J" x 23J" ; Trial State 
of Two Impressions in which lanterns hang- 
ing from a line appear ; Published State, 
without the lanterns; 150 proofs, 148, 

Notre Dame at Eu, water-colour, 246. 

Notre Dame de Paris, recent etching, on zinc, 

29tV X 2iii"' 150. 
Notre Dame de Poitiers, Etching No. 201, 

7H" X 9^"' 156. 
Notre Dame de Tours, Etching No. 204, 8i-| x 

/ 1 e • 

Nurses and the Wounded, three tinted woodcuts 

in F. B.'s " At the Front and at the Base," 
published in 1915 by the Fine Art Society, 
London, 190 footnote. 
Nympholepts of Democracy, Politicians as, 199 

Old Hammersmith, Etching No. 128. 1908. 
On zinc, 28" x 22" ; from a drawing made 
below Hammersmith Bridge ; 80 proofs 
pubhshed ; a Trial State in two impressions 
and the Published State, now very scarce, 
131, 132, 148, i53f/i^j. 

Old Houses on Timber Piles in the River at 
Meaux, Etching No. 217, 141" x 11 J", 143, 

Old Houses at Dixmude, Etching No. 121. 

1908. On zinc, 7J" x 6" ; low and long 
cottages with two lean-to projections ; a 
big wagon on the same plane ; in the fore- 
ground a barge and men at work : a fat 
and free sketch in line done out of doors, 

Old Houses at Ghent, Etching No. 64. 1906. 
On copper, 24" x 21 J" ; a Trial State in 
five impressions and the Published State in 
150 proofs, now very scarce, 143, 144, 148, 
153 et seq. 

Old Houses at Messina, Etching No. 150. 1910. 
On zinc, 28|-" x 22" ; from a water-colour 
sketch of the ruins made by earthquake, 155. 

Old Houses at St. Cirq-la-Popie, Etching No. 
160. 1910. On zinc, loj" x 14J" ; etched 
out of doors, 94. 

Old Houses^at Taormina, Etching No. 157. 


1910. On zinc, 10" x 8" ; in the left fore- 
ground, in cool shadow thrown by a wall, 
some laundry women ; a street runs ahead 
to some elderly houses with high roofs and 
cosy balconies ; a rapid sketch done out of 
Old Timber Houses at Walberswick, Suffolk, 
Etching No. i. 1901. On zinc, ii|" x 
1 1 1" ; first Trial State in two impressions 
and the Published State in 25 proofs. 

Old Kew Bridge, Etching No. 51. 1904. On 
zinc, 15^-" X 13"; etched on the spot; 
three arches of the fine old bridge are seen 
behind a row of pleasure boats and a tem- 
porary timber bridge partly built, 112. 
Old Man, An, Etching No. 4. 1900. On zinc, 
4" X 12"; head and shoulders in profile ; 
10 proofs taken. 

Old Man, Head of an. Etching No. 13, see 
under Head. 

Old Man, Head of an. Etching No. 88, see 
under Head. 

Old Roadsweepers at Hammersmith, Etching 
No. 192, on zinc, \o\" x 9!^°, 132. 

Old Street at Antwerp, Woodcut 29 in F. B.'s 
Belgium, 231. 

Old Tree, An, at Hammersmith, Etching No. 
14. 1903. On zinc, 4" x 5" ; done out of 
doors, 79, 80, 81, 83, 143. 

Old Women, Bruges, Etching No. 65. 1906. 
On zinc, 19" x 21" ; etched on the spot ; 
in the second state, now known as " Old 
Women, Longpre," No. 173, the women 
behind are scraped and burnished away, 66, 

Old Wooden House at Tpres, Woodcut 21 in 
F. B.'s Belgium. 

Olive Trees of Avignon, 85. 

Oliver, F. S., on the misuse of posters, 169. 

" Omar Khaiyam," 222. 

On London Bridge, Etching No. 22. 1904. 
On zinc, 5" x 4" ; see under London. 

On the Road to Figeac, Etching No. 161. 1910. 
On zinc, lo|" x 14^" ; etched from nature 
on the right bank of the River Cebe, 94. 

Oostcamp, Woodcut 1 1 in F. B.'s Belgium. 

Opie, how he misunderstood Rembrandt, 123. 

Optimism, true and false, 58. 

Orange Market at Jaffa, 221, 246. 

Organ Grinder, An, at Hammersmith, Etching 
No. 47. 1904. On zinc, 131" x 15!" ; done 
from life in a street. 

Oriental Boy, Etching No. 136. 1908. On 
copper, 3 J" x sf". 

Orientalism, Brangwyn's, 38, 39, 183, 220, 

221 et seq., 236, 237. 
Orientalists, British, few in number, and many 

needed, 220, 221. 
Orientalists, French, many in number, their 

great value, 220, 221. 
Originality, what it is, 4, 5. 
Orphelinat des Armies, two Brangwyn War 

Posters done for a French Charity, 196. 
Ostade's etchings, 50. 

Palsolithic Art, 138, 139. 

Palais des Archives at Malines, Woodcut 25 in 

F. B.'s Belgium, 230. 
Palermo, Castello delta Ziza, Etching No. 30 ; 

see under Castello. 
Paper, coloured, its use in drawing and in 

water-colour, 237, 238. 
Paper Mill at, Etching No. 93. 1907. 

On zinc, 22J' x io\" ; etched on the spot, 

93. 130, 131- 
Parallelism in Art, 59. 
Pans, Pont Mane and Pont Neuf, see under 

Parker, Gilbert, 217. 
Parliament of the Dead, A, 17. 
Parmigiano, 45. 
Parrot Inn, The, at Di.xmude, Etching No. 131, 

on zinc, 14I" x 21J" ; done from a drawing ; 

a Trial State of two impressions and the 

Published State, 113. 
Parthenay, A Tannery at. Etching No. 202, 

9if" X 7^f" ; a very good study. 
Parthenay, Porte St. Jacques, see under Porte. 
Parthenay, IVashho'.ises at, see under Wash- 
Pastels, Brangwyn's, see Chapter XVIII. 
Patriotism, the highest appears in honest 

thorough work, 143 ; French and British, 

Peace, The Illusion called, 60 et seq., 73 et seq., 

Pearson, Sir Arthur, and F. B.'s War Cartoons, 

Pennell, Joseph, 125. 
Periods in the life-work of an artist, 26 et seq., 

34 ^' ^eq. 
Perronneau, J. B., 1715-1783, 250. 
Phare, Le, Nieuport, Woodcut 6 in F. B.'s 

Philippe de Comines on England's mediaeval 

archers, 195. 

2 O 

Picardy, A Road in. Etching No. 10, see under 

Pigsty, A, Etching No. 45. 1904. On copper, 

6J-" X 4|" ; etched on Wormwood Scrubbs 

and published in The Venture. 
Pinwell, George John, 1842-1875, 213, 218. 
Piranesi, Giambattista, 1720- 1 778, his character 

as engraver and etcher, 47, 149. 
Pissarro, Camille, Impressionist, 37. 
Platelayers, Brangwyn lithograph, 198. 
Plein Air Movement, 7. 
Pont des Baudets, Bruges, Woodcut 8 in F. B.'s 

Belgium, 232. 
Pont Marie, Paris, Etching, 23 y^j" x 20 jL" ; 

a bridge with niches above the cutwaters ; 

in the foreground four well studied tree- 
trunks with drooping foliage ; also a great 

heap of sand, with horses and men at work, 

Pont Neuf, Paris, Etching, 29!" x 2lt", 115, 

116, 117, 154. 
Pool, The, Brangwyn lithograph, first ver- 
Pool, The, Brangwyn lithograph, second version, 

first state ; also a later state. 
Poor, The Genuine, often right in their attitude 

towards good work, 169. 
Portaels, Jean, and his fame as a teacher of 

art, 35 ; one of his good sayings, 158. 
Porte de Gaud, Etching No. 63. 1906. On 

copper, 1 3 J" X 151" ; etched out of doors ; 

a Trial State of five impressions and the 

Published State. 
Porte St. Croix, Bruges, Etching No. 62. 1906. 

On copper, 10" x 14" ; done out of doors ; 

a Trial State of two impressions and the 

Published State, 119. 
Porteroque, A Farmer of. Etching No. 164 ; see 

under Farmer. 
Porte St. Jacques, Parthenay, Etching No. 203, 

i°ir' X 9\i\ 156. 

Portfolios of F. B.'s War Posters, their utility 

considered, 197. 
Portrait Painting, 252, 262. 
Port, The, F. B. woodcut in Verhaeren's poems, 

Posters, by Brangwyn, for the U.S. Navy, 192, 

Posters, their misuse during the War, 168 et 

seq., 177. 
Posters as Aids in National Service, 170, 178, 

179 et seq., 186. 
Posters, principles governing their designs, 181- 



Posters, Taxes on, would be just and useful, 

177, 178. 
Posters, War Posters by Brangwyn, see Chapter 

Post-Impressionism, 14, 15. 
Post Office, London, Demolition of. Etching No. 

212, see under Demolition. 
Potter, Paul, 1625-1654, his etchings, 50, 86, 

Praise and censure, their psychology, 11 et seq. 
Preacher, A, Etching No. 57, 5" x 9^" ; a 

rough sketch of a turbaned man addressing 

a crowd of turbaned figures, seated on the 

Preault's witty attack on Ingres, 145. 
Pre-Raphaelites, Modern, 5, 7. 
Prettiness in posters, it is greatly liked in 

England, 185. 
Pride of Craft, the healing cement of society 

and the soul of toil, 121 ; its neglect in 

modernised England, 142, 143. 
Printing etched work, 48 et seq. ; F. B.'s art 

of printing, 128, 129 with footnote, 152, 

Procession in a Spanish Church, 65. 
Prodigal Son, 7 he, Etching No. 163, on zinc, 

7^" X 6" ; a man seated, and leaning against 

the back of a sow, who is surrounded by her 

litter ; in the background, low cliffs and a 

river. Study for a picture. 
Prodigal Son, The, Etching No. 163A, on zinc, 

I4J-" X lof ; study for the same picture, 

and a forerunner of The Swineherd, No. 

Prout, Samuel, 213. 
Protv of H.M.S. Duncan, Etching No. 194. 

1912. On zinc, 151" x 12". 
Publicity Craze, The, 1 68-1 71. 
Puerta de Passage, Spain, F. B. water-colour, 

Puvis de Chavannes, not altogether great in 

mural art, 109. 
Puy, A Street in Puy, Etching No. 213, llj" x 


" Q.," his story in "Tales of Our Coast," 217. 
Quai Vert, Bruges, 232. 
Queen Elizabeth, 219. 

Rackham, Arthur, 213. 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 218. 

Ravine, A Swiss, Brangwyn lithograph. 


Reade, Charles, 200. 

Rebuilding Belgium, Brangwyn War Poster, 

195; . 
Recruiting Slackers, Brangwyn War Cartoon, 


Refugees leave Antwerp, Brangwyn War Posters, 

Regamey, Guillaume, 195. 

Regan and Goneril, 18, 19. 

Regnault, Alexandre Georges Henri, 1843- 
1871, 39- 

Religious art, 16, 18, 25 et seq., 33, 66. 

Rembrandt, 1606-1669, his " Three Crosses," 
28 ; his " Entombment," 29 ; his heaven- 
worthiness, 46 ; his feeling for scale and 
size, 47 ; etches as he paints, 50 ; his sub- 
tlety, 54 ; and Vandyke, 55 ; accepts life 
as war, 62 ; his wee etchings, 8* ; and 
Brangwyn, 125. 

Representation, 40 et seq. 

Return, The, Brangwyn lithograph. 

Return from the Promised Land, Brangwyn oil- 

Return from the Raid, Etching No. 170. 1910. 
On copper, 131" x 11 J'; sketched from a 
group of Nativity figures set up on a balcony 
at Mola, and composed as a line of moving 
figures against a huge curving hill crowned 
with a fortress. Leonardo da Vinci tells 
us to study the stains of plaster on walls 
as an aid in landscape design. 

Return from Work, Etching No. 107. 1907. 
On zinc, 314" x 21^'; etched from a 
number of studies made in a London ship- 
yard, 63, 131. 

Revolt, A., F. B. brush drawing, 224. 

Revolt, A., F. B. Woodcut in Verhaeren's 
poems, 226. 

Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 1723-1792, hit feeling 
for paint, 31 ; as portraitist, 55 ; misunder- 
stands Rembrandt and Poussin, 122. 

Rialto, Venice, Etching No. 72. igo6. On 
copper, from a drawing, 13' x 15^'; 150 
proofs pubUshed, 145. 

Ricardo, Halsey, and colour in architecture, 

Richmond, Sir William Blake, R.A., 235. 
River Lot at St. Cirq-la-Popie, Etching No. 159, 

on zinc, 10" x 8", 89. 
River Lot, Etching No. 171. 1910. On zinc, 

91" X 8" ; done from nature ; lOO proofs 

published, 90. 
Road at Montreuil-sur-Mer, Etching No. 34, 

on zinc, 13^" X iqJ/, 93. 

Road, A, in Picardy, Etching No. lo. 1903. 
On zinc, 14-I" x 12" ; from a drawing made 
at Longpre ; in the first state, 60 proofs, 
the sky is plain and the plate is bitten lightly ; 
in the second, 2 proofs only, the sky is full 
of storm and rain, 83, 86, 87, 88. 

Road, On the, to Figeac, Etching No. 161. 
1910. On zinc, and done from nature, 
lof" X i4i", 94. 

Roadsweefers at Hammersmith, Etching No. 
192. 1912. On zinc, done out of doors, 

lor X 9^", 132. 
Robert, Leopold, 91. 
Roberts, Lord, 168, 172. 
Roberts, David, 1796-1864, 213. 
Robertson, Sir William, his appeal from a 

poster, 168. 
Robin Hood Ballads, 141. 
Robinson, G. T., the late, and ship decoration, 

Rodin, his views on Art, 240. 
Rogers, Thorold, on mediaeval mills, 99 foot- 
Rolland, Remain, on J. F. Millet, 201. 
Rolls of Honour, a few designed by Brangv^n, 

" Romance, The, of Alexander," its mediaeval 

illustrations, 98, 99, 127. 
Ronda, Brangwyn lithograph. 
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, 1828-1882, 213. 
Rossos and Primatices at Fontainebleau, 

Rowing Club, A, Certificate for, Brangwyn 

Rowlandson, Thomas, 1756-1827, 36, 85, 213, 

Rubbish in modernized workmanship, 163, 

164 ; its sale by advertisement should be 

forbidden, 177. 
Rubens, Peter Paul, 1577-1640, 7, 15, 18, 37, 

49,62, 82, 125, 126. 
Ruins of Fillers Abbey, Woodcut 35 in F. B.'s 

Ruins of a Church at Oude Stuyvenking, Wood- 
cut 51 in F. B.'s Belgium. 
Ruskin, John, 1819-1900, 40, 56 ; on Rubens, 

57 ; on armed strife, 73 et seq. ; and social 

progress, 200. 
Russell, John, 1744-1806, 247. 
RusseU, W. Clark, and Brangwyn, 214, 215, 

Rutot, Professor, and Prehistoric Man, 197. 
Ruysdael's etchings, 50 ; his fondness for oaks, 


St. Aidan's Church, Leeds, F. B.'s mural 
paintings, 208, 210. 

St. Ambrose training his Choir at Milan, F. B. 
mural painting, 208. 

St. Augustine^s Conversion, F. B.'s mural paint- 
ing, 208. 

St. Augustine at Ebbsfiect, F. B.'s mural paint- 
ing, 208. 

St. Austrebert at Montreuil, Etching No. 98. 

1907. On zinc, 23I" x 191". 

St. Croix, Porte, Bruges, Etching No. 62. 1906. 
An outdoor study on copper, 10" x 14", in 
Two States. In a Trial State of two impres- 
sions the round towers of the Porte St. 
Croix are shown in the. distance ; they are 
omitted from the Published State. 

St. Jacques h Liege, Woodcut 40 in F. B.'s 

St. Leonardos Abbey, near Tours, Etching No. 
206, 231" X 29t", 150, 151 et seq. 

St. Nicolas i Dixmude, Etching No. 117. 1908. 
On copper, 26^-" x 2i|". Published in 
Vienna by the Gesellschajt fiir vervieljalti- 
gende Kiinst, a hundred proofs being signed 
by the etcher, together with ten proofs of 
a small English edition ; a good many 
unsigned proofs are in the market. 

St. Nicolas du Chardonnet, Paris, recent etching 
not yet catalogued, 154. 

St. Nicolas d Fumes, Etching No. 119. 1908. 
An outdoor study on zinc, iif" x 12"; 80 
proofs pubHshed. 

St. Paul arrives at Rome, F. B.'s mural painting, 

St. Paul reaches shore ajter shipwreck, F. B.'s 
mural painting, 208. 

St. Peter's of the Exchange at Genoa, a recent 
etching and uncatalogued, 154. 

St. Rombaut, Malines, Woodcut 27 in F. B.'s 

St. Saulve, Montreuil, Etching No. 103. 1907. 
On zinc, loj" x 17". 

St. Simeon Stylites, 229. 

St. Walburge a Fumes, Woodcut 27 in F. B.'s 

St. Walburge a Fumes, Etching No. 124. 1908. 
An outdoor study on zinc, 10" x 14" ; 80 
proofs published. 

St. Walburge, Afse of. Fumes, Etching No. 120. 

1908. An outdoor study on zinc, 17" x 15" ; 
100 proofs published. 

St. Wilfrid and the Southern Saxons, F. B.'s 

mural painting, 210, 2H. 
Sand-Dredger, Brangwyn lithograph. 


Sandshoot, A, Etching No. 138. 1908. On 

zinc, 23i" X igi", 131. 
Santa Chiara del Carmine, Taormina, Etching 

No. 153. 1910. On copper, yf" x 10". 
Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, the big plate. 

Etching No. 118. 1908. On zinc, 31J" x 

2ii", 119, 146, 148. 
Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, the small 

plate, Etching No. 108. 1907. On copper, 

14J" X 11", 146, 147, 148. 
Santa Maria della Salute from the Street, Etch- 
ing No. lio. 1907. On copper, 17I" x 

22" ; 100 proofs published, 147, 148. 
Santa Sophia at Constantinople, Etching No. 

71. 1906. On copper, 20J" x 18J", 144. 
Sargent, J. S., 7. 
Sawyers in a Shipyard at Boulogne, Etching 

No. 43. 1904; on zinc, i8|" x 22|", 121, 


Scaffolding at South Kensington, Etching No. 
49. 1904. An outdoor study on copper, 
5" X 7", published in The Acorn, 127. 

Scheldt, Across the. Woodcut 31 in F. B.'s 

Scheldt, Mouth of the. Woodcut 28 in F. B.'s 

Schools in art, why valuable, 25. 

Scoffers, The, Brangwyn oil-painting, 217. 

Scott, Sir Walter, 62, 134. 

Scourging of St. Allan, The, F. B. mural paint- 
ing, 210. 

Sculpture and Prehistoric Man, 197. 

Scribner''s Magazine, Brangwyn's work for, 
203-205, 214, 215, 219. 

Sculptural form in Nature and in Art, 138. 

Sea, The, in F. B.'s art, 37, 117, 203, 204 et 

Seamen's Clubs and Labour Halls, 164, 203- 

Sects in art, 25, 31. 

Sensier's " Life " of Millet, 10. 

Sentimentality, British, 185. 

Sex, Genius and, 4, 5, 158. 

Shade, F. B. picture, 214. 

Shakespeare, how he borrows hints and ideas 
for plots, 4 ; his graphic poetry, 12 ; and 
the whole aesthetic truth, 18, 25 ; his tem- 
perament, 51 ; accepts life as war, 62 ; his 
genius, 134; his blend of realism with the 
spirit of fairyland, 145, 146, 153 ; his love 
of England, 189; on England's soul, 199; 
on Art and Nature, 218. 

Shell, A Bursting, Brangwyn lithograph, 195. 

Shelley and Nature, 153. 


Ship, Building a, Etching No. 195 1912. 
On zinc, 352" x 2j\". 

Shipbuilding Yard on the Lower Thames, Etch- 
ing No. 26. 1904. On zinc, 23J' ;< 17J", 
in Four States, 123. 

Shipping Federation, Certificate for the. Etching 
No. 83. 1906. On copper, I2f" x 9", 130. 

Shoddy and its bad effects on national honour 
and efficiency, 163, 164; its sale by adver- 
tisement should be forbidden, 177. 

Shop, A Village, at St. Cirq-la-Popie, an out- 
door sketch on zinc, 141" x llj". 

Shrine of the Immaculate Virgin at Messina, 
from a water-colour sketch. Etching No. 
154. 1910. On zinc, 29' x 23". 

Sighs, Bridge of. Etching Ko. iSl. 1911. On 
zinc, 175" X 27-j" ; 100 proofs published, 
now very scarce. 

Simon, Lucien, " Intimist " Impressionist, and 
one of F. B.'s affinities, 7. 

Singer, Bookplate for Victor, on copper, si" ^ 

Singer, Dr. H. W., on Vandyke's etchings, 55. 

Sisley, Alfred, a leader of the Impressionists, 
not yet rated at his true high level ; he has 
been overshadowed far too much by Monet, 
Manet, Degas, Pissarro, and Renoir. His 
art is well bred, and his feeling for light is 
beautiful and unassertive. In other Im- 
pressionists the bourgeois element is too 
evident as a rule, Manet excepted. 

Sketch of a Workman in Bruges, from life. 
Etching No. 41. 1904. 14" x 14J". 

Sketch of a Belgian Workman in a Broad- 
brimmed Hat, from life, on copper, 3i" x 
Si" ; published in La Grande Revue, Paris. 

Sketches, too often sold without discrimina- 
tion, 241. 

Skinners' Hall, F. B.'s panel decorations, 208. 

Skinscrapers, Brangwyn lithograph, 198. 

Skinscrapers I, Etching No. 79. 1906. On 
copper, 5i" X 7a" ; done on the spot at 
Brentford; published in Vienna, 130. 

Skinscrapers II, Etching No. 80. 1906. On 
copper, 4|-" x 6" ; etched from life at 
Brentford, 131. 

Slackers in a Brangwyn War Cartoon, 195. 

Slave Market, Brangwyn picture, 215. 

Slave Traders, Brangwyn oil-painting, 38. 

Solitary Prisoner, A, Brangwyn War Poster 

Southey's Life of Nelson, 219. 

Spanish Galleon, The, 204. 

Spanish Wine Shop, A, Brangwyn lithograph, 

" Spliced Yarn, A," by George Cupples, 1899, 

F. B. Illustrations, 218. 
Standards, Metal, for electric light in streets, 

Stauffer-Bern, his heads too big for the surface 

on which they are drawn, 80. 
Steel Making, Brangwyn lithograph, igS. 
Stevedores, aquatint on zinc, catalogued No. 

190. I9II. 17" X 12", 132. 
Stoning of Stephen, The, F. B. mural painting, 

208, 210. 
Storm, A, etching by Legros, 70, 71. 
Storm near Craven Cottage, Fulham, Etching 

No. 29. 1904. i8f" X 18", 71, 89. 
Stothard, 213. 
Strand on the Green, Etching No. 48. 1904. 

An outdoor study on copper, 4" x 3"y\j. 
Street, Old, in Antiverp, Woodcut 29 in F. B.'s 

Street in Puy, uncatalogued etching of recent 

date, 157. 
Street in Totirs, uncatalogued etching of recent 

date, 157. 
Street near Taormina, Etching No. 149. 1910. 

On copper, 13J" x iij" ; done out of doors 

at Letojanni. See also under Messina. 
Street at St. Cirq-la-Popie II, Etching No. 198, 

on copper, 8"xi2". 1911. A street that 

looks dangerous, 156, 157. 
Street at St. Cirq-la-Popie I, Etching No. 184, 

on zinc, 45" x 6" ; a sketch of little, straggling 

houses with a narrow gutter between them, 


Street, A Back, in Naples, Etching No. 191. 
1912. An outdoor sketch on copper, 9I" x 

Streets as revealers of national character, 164, 
165, see also Chapter XII ; colour in the 
aspects of streets, 173 ct seq. ; F. B.'s con- 
cern for our streets, 164, 165, see also 
Chapter XII. 

Strikes, 162, 167, 172. 

Studio Magazine, 249. 

Submarine Menace, Brangwyn War Poster, 192. 

Submarines in F. B.'s posters, 190, 191, 192, 


Sunlight, the most searching and remarkable 
effect of, 40. 

Sunday, F. B. water-colour, 235. 

Sunshine and Shadow : A Fetietian Funeral, 
Etching No. iii. 1907. On copper, 26J" x 
22 J" ; only 10 proofs published ; afterwards 
altered into No. 1 1 1 a and called A Venetian 

Supernatural, The, its treatment in art, 152, 

Swift, Dean, 155. 
Swineherd, A, unpublished etching and of recent 

date ; to be compared with Nos. 163 and 

163.^, The Prodigal Son, 39, 133. 
Swing, The, Etching No. 168. 1910. On 

zinc, 8" X 5" ; done from nature at Porte- 

roque in France. 
Swiss Ravine, A, Brangwvn lithograph. 

Tagore's nature-worship, 90. 

" Tales of our Coast," 1896, F. B. illustrations, 

Tanagra statuettes, 138. 

Tanpit, A, at Bruges, Etching No. 76. 1906. 
Sketched from life on a zinc plate, 23J" x 
191", 129, 130. 

Tanyard, A, at Brentford, on zinc, 15 J" x I2f" ; 
only 35 proofs taken, as the other side of 
the plate was occupied by another etching. 
No. 8, Barkstrippcrs at Port Mellan, Cornwall, 
and printing this latter subject destroyed 
the surface from which the Tanyard was 
printed, 80. 

Tannery, A, at Parthenay, uncatalogued etch- 
ing of recent date, 132, 157. 

Taormina, Street near. Etching No. 149. 1910. 
An outdoor study at Letojanni, on copper, 
13!" X I If". See also under Messina. 

Taormina, Sta. Chiara del Carmine, Etching 
No. 153. 1900. On copper, "jl" x 10". 

Taormina, Old Houses, Etching No. 157. 1910. 
An outdoor study on zinc, 10" x 8" ; looking 
up a street to old balconied houses with 
high roofs ; in the left foreground, in- 
shade thrown by a wall, a group of laundry 

Taormina, Bridge at Alcantara near. Etching 
No. 156. 1910. An outdoor study on zinc, 
l6|" X 13". See also under Bridge. 

Tapping a Furnace, Brangw}-n lithograph, 198. 

Tapping a Steel Furnace, Brangwyn lithograph, 

Tarn, Bridge over. Etching No. 180. 191 1. 

Outdoor study on zinc, 6J" x 5J". 
Tayler, Frederick, 1802-1889, 243. 
Technical inspiration, I, 30, 31. 
Tenniel, 213. 
Tiepolo's etchings, 50. 
Tin, Meryon tested its use in plates for etching, 

79 footnote. 
Tintoret, 1519-1594, 7, 18, 62, 76. 


Tirlemont, Woodcut 39 in F. B.'s Belgium. 

Titian, 18, 55, 62, 245. 

Toledo, A Bridge at, uncatalogued etching of 

recent date, 115. 
Toledo, F. B. water-colours of, 244. 
Topical subjects in posters, 186. 
Topographical draughtsmen, English, 141. 
Topographical drawings, their value in the 

history of architecture, 141. 
Tour de Faure, Etching No. 182. 191 1. Out- 
door study on copper, 13I" x 10". 
Toumay, Woodcut 46 in F. B.'s Belgium. 
Tower Bridge, London, Brangwyn lithograph. 
Tower of St. George at Dixmude, Woodcut 30 

in F. B.'s Belgium. 
Towns, Vast, not friendly to artists, 8. 
Tow-rope, The, at Bruges, Etching No. 75. 

1906. Study from Hfe, on zinc, 3if" x aij", 

68, 69, 121, 122. 
Trade on the Beach, 229. 
Tragedy in things inanimate, 69, 70, 71, 72 

and footnote. 
Traghetto, II, Venice, Etching No. 175. 1911. 

On zinc, 145" x 15I" ; 100 proofs published, 

Transport, Going on board a, Brangwyn War 

Poster, 195, 196. 
Tree, A, at Hammersmith, Etching No. 19. 

1903. On zinc, 12" x 15", 83. 
Tree, A, at Brentford, Etching No. 18. 1903. 

On zinc, 13" x 16". 
Tree, An Old, at Hammersmith, Etching No. 

14. 1903. Outdoor study on zinc, 4" x 5". 

See also under Hammersmith. 
Trees in etching, 85. 
Trees and a Factory at Hammersmith, Etching 

No. II. 1903. On zinc, 16" x 13", 83. 
Trees in Snow, Etching No. 24. 1904. Out- 
door study on copper, 3^^" x 4J-", 89. 
Triangular architecture, 231. 
Truisms, their great and neglected value, 6, 

Truth-seeking, its perils, 6. 
Turkish Cemetery, A, at Scutari, Etching No. 

31. 1904. Done on zinc from an original 

drawing, l8|-" x 17!", 92. 
Turkish Fishermen's Huts, F. B. picture, 215, 

Turner, J. M. W., 1775-1851, thought little 

about originality, 4 ; his time not a great 

friend to him, 8 ; how he studied a great 

storm at sea, risking his life, 38 footnote ; 

his admiration for Girtin, 48 ; how he 

trained engravers, 49 ; his etching, 78 ; not 


satisfied with colour and form, 146, 147 ; 
he speaks to a lady about colour, 153 ; his 
delight in transparency, 238 ; his feeling 
for tragedy, 240 ; his good habit of treasur- 
ing his jottings and sketches, 242 ; his 
pedigree, 245. 

Two Men Drinking, F. B. lithograph. 

Two Vagrant Musicians, Etching No. 144. 
1909. On zinc, 5" x 7". 

Twopeny, William, his great merit as a 
draughtsman, 141. 

Two Turks, Etching No. 137. 1908. On 
zinc, i6|-" X i2|", 92. 

Ugliness and art, 41. 

Ulenspiegel, 230. 

Unique, The, in art, 46, 138, 228. 

Unloading Bricks at Ghent, Etching No. 140, 

on zinc, 26f" x 22|", 132. 
Unloading a Case, London Bridge, Brangviryn 

lithograph, 198. 
Unloading Orange Boxes, Brangwyn lithograph 

in sepia, 198. 
Unloading Orange Bo.xes, Brangwyn lithograph 

in black, 198. 
Unloading Wine at Venice, Etching No. 109. 

1907. On zinc, 14" x 10", 93, 146. 
U.S.A., Brangwyn's posters for the U.S. Navy, 

192, 193. 

Valentre Bridge at Cahors, Etching No. 178. 
1911. On zinc, 32" x 211"; etched from 
a water-colour ; a First State in 100 proofs 
and a Second State in 25 proofs, 1 14. 

Valley of the Lot, F. B. water-colour, 238. 

Vandyke's Etchings and their great Quahties, 
46, SO, 55> 56, 80, 81, 82. 

Van Gogh and the Post-Impressionists, 16, 23, 

Vat, The Dye, Etching No. 42. 1904. On 
zinc, 1 8 J" X I7t"; a rapid study of move- 
ment and light etched from a drawing made 
in Bruges. 

Velasquez, 18, 55, 62. 

Venetian Boats, Etching No. 1 16. 1908. On 
zinc, 9J" X 64" ; etched on the spot. 

Venetian Funeral, A, Etching No. iiia. 1907. 
On copper, 26^^" x 22^" ; really a Second 
State of Sunlight and Shadow, No. ill, the 
domes of Santa Maria della Salute displacing 
the balconied houses, 146. 

" Vengeur, The," went down, Brangwyn naval 

picture, 204. 
Venice in art, 145 et seq. ; F. B.'s Venice, 145 

et seq. 
Venice, Etchings of Venice : A Canal, No. 155, 

1910, on zinc, 8J" x 6|" ; Browning's House, 

Palazzo Resonica, No. 197, 1912, on zinc. 


Boatbuilders, No. 112, 1907, 

on zinc, 25|-' x 20J" ; A Boatyard, No. 113, 
1907, on zinc, zj-f x igj" ; Venetian Boats, 
No. 116, 1908, on zinc, g^' ^ ^i" i The 
Rialto, No. 72, 1906, on copper, 13" x 15I" ; 
II Traghetto, No. 175, 191 1, on zinc, 14I" x 
15^"; Unloading Wine, No. 109, 1907, on 
zinc, 14' X 10' ; Santa Maria della Salute, 
large plate, No. 118, 1908, on zinc, 311" x 
. 2l|-" ; Santa Maria della Salute, small 
plate. No. 108, 1907, on copper, 14!" x 
11"; Santa Maria della Salute from the 
Street, No. no, 1907, on copper, 17^" 

X 22 . 

Verhaeren, the Belgian poet, on " The Black 
Mill," 102 footnote ; on F. B.'s attitude to 
Industry and Labour, 120, I2I, 122 ; 
defends the F. B. etchings, 123 ; his poems 
illustrated by F. B., 226 ; on Delstanche's 
book, 232 ; on Brangwyn, 236. 

Fers, The River Lot at, Etching'Mo. 179. 1911. 

On zinc, 6^ x Si'y 9+- 

Versatility, 34, 66 ; the world distrusts it, 75, 
see also Chapter XIX ; comparison between 
this agent in Legros and F. B., 75 ; in 
F. B.'s interpretations of architecture, 143 ; 
in his drawings, 253 ; see also Chapter 

Fia del Trombe, Messina, Etching No. 147. 
1910. On zinc, 23J' x 21^" ; etched from 
a water-colour made after the earthquake 
of 1908, 155. 

Fictoria and Albert Museum, Building the, see 
under Building, 128. 

Victorianism, 8, 31, 53. 

Fillage, A Cliff, Etching No. 162. 1910. On 
zinc, l-ji" X 18^' ; done on the spot at St. 
Cirq-la-Popie. See under Cliff, 194. 

F^llage Green, A, Etching No. 165. 1910. 
On zinc, 141-' x lof ; done at St. Cirq-la- 
Popie, France, 94. 

Fillage Shop at St. Cirq-la-Popie, Etching No. 
183. 1911. I4i-' X llj"; etched out of 
doors ; a Trial State of one impression and 
the Published State, 94. 

Fotv, A, of Fengeance against Air Raids, 
Brangwyn War Poster, 196. 

Wakefield, Sir Charles, 194. 
Walberszvick, Old Houses, Etching No. I. 1900. 
On zinc, ll|" x ii|" ; a Trial State of Two 
Impressions and a Published State of 25 
proofs, 140, 143. 

Walburge, St., Apse of, at Fumes, see under 

Walburge, Church of, at Furncs, Etching No 
124. 1908. On zinc, 10" x 14" ; etched 
on the spot ; 80 proofs published. 

Walburge, Church of, at Fumes, Woodcut 17 in 
F. B.'s Belgium. 

Walker, Frederick, 1840-1875, 213. 

Walzin, Chateau de, Woodcut 43 in F. B.'s 
Belgium, 234. 

War, its highest aim, 188. 

War, its many phases, see Chapter III ; in- 
dustrial warfare, 142 ; armed strife and 
reformation, l6l ; war posters, 187 et seq. 

Washhouses at Parthenay, France, Etching No, 
211, 9^" x 11" ; on zinc, 132. 

Washing Skins, Brangwyn lithograph. 

Watch Committees of Artists, 172-179. 

Water Carrier, Etching No. 130, on zinc, 
9" X 7" ; etched at Furnes, 

Water-colour, English, 119; see also Chapter 

Water Festival, An Italian, 219. 

WatermiUs, 97. 

Wedmore, Sir Frederick, 54 et seq. 

Weekly Dispatch, The, F. B. water-colour, 

Weight of Style, 40, 85. 

Wellington, 143 footnote. 

Wheatley, 85. 

Whistler, James Abbott McNeill, 1834-1903, 
46, 131, 171, 238. 

Wilkie, Sir David, 213. 

Wilson, Richard, 245. 

Winchelsea, The Black Mill, see Black Mill. 

Windmill at Dixmude, Etching No. 123, on 
zinc, 29I" X 211" ; 100 proofs published, 

75, 98- 
Windmills in Art and Nature, 96 et seq., 212. 
Windmills, Bruges, Etching No. 70. 1906. 

On zinc, 20J" x 18J' ; etched at Bruges 

from a prefatory sketch, 102. 
Windmills, Bruges, Woodcut 12 in F. B.'s 

Belgium, 230. 
Windmills, Fumes, 103. 

Wine, Unloading, Fenice, see under Unloading. 
Wood, F. Derwent, 174. 
Woodcuts, 189 and 190 footnote; see also 

Chapter XVI. 


Woodcuts, Brangwyn's, 227 et seq. 

Wooden House at Ypres, Old, Woodcut 21 in 

F. B.'s Belgium. 
Wordiness in posters and other advertisements, 

183, 184. 
Workmen, Industrial, how they are affected by 

the tyranny of machines, 119, 120, 121, 122 

et seq. 

" Wreck of the Golden Fleece," by Robert 

Leighton, 1893, F. B. illustrations, 217. 
Writers on art, their office, 8, 9, 24. 

Zeeman as an etcher, 78. 

Ziem, 39. 

Zinc and copper, their use in etching, 79, 148. 

Ziza, Castello della, Palermo, see under Castello. 


3 3390 00000 3869 


- *»vt-\ 

A --- 


*. r- 

T»« ©fVTAPJO C4n.t>:«E eP AFT